Tom Murphy obituary | Stage | The GuardianFrom the archives: Murphy on his first experience of theatre, writing his first play, and Galway hurling. It was the evening before pessimism. Hours later, the US was attacked. Our conversation on the previous day's All-Ireland was more becoming of a world since trivialised. Our primary concern was the loss of another double.
Tom Murphy obituary
I n his basement study in Dublin's gentrified southside, Tom Murphy is struggling to find a word, an idea, anything, to sum up the creative impulse behind his dark, inscrutable work. In the other corner is a scale model, complete with pulpit and pillars, of the set of Murphy's new production of his play The Sanctuary Lamp, which opens in London this week. An anti-Catholic diatribe, it caused furious walkouts when it premiered in Dublin. Hunched on an armchair is Murphy, sitting stock-still. Then his eyes light up. It was in me when I was 24 or 25, scribbling with my stub of a pencil.
The family in A Whistle in the Dark are at war among themselves. This portrayal of feral, primitive siblings struggling for survival was controversial on both sides of the Irish Sea. Murphy protested, as man and playwright, at the economic imperative of emigration, at what he saw as the hypocrisy of the Catholic church, the poverty of political leadership and the blatant inequality in the Irish state. The themes of involuntary emigration, attempted homecomings and the search for communal and personal identity were pursued in Famine , The Sanctuary Lamp , The Wake and The House Emigration was the norm in Ireland in the s and 50s, aggravated by the repressive cultural atmosphere. His sojourn in London was a necessary recuperation from that repression, as well as an apprenticeship to stagecraft. There, too, he met, and in married, Mary Hamilton-Hippisley, with whom he had three children; they separated in the 80s, when Murphy began a relationship with the actor Jane Brennan , whom he married in
Tom Murphy, an influential Irish playwright known for dark tales told with a rustic musicality, died on Tuesday in Dublin. He was His wife, the actress Jane Brennan, said the cause was heart failure. Murphy wrote dozens of plays across a half-century. Hynes said in a telephone interview. He wrote with a very raw essence.
Loading, please wait Home About Contact Us. Tom Murphy was born in Tuam, Co. Galway, and he had a deep attachment to the place of his birth. At the age of 24, he wrote his first play, On the Outside , in collaboration with his great friend Noel O'Donoghue. The following year, he completed his first full-length play, which under the original title, The Iron Men , won a number of Irish national playwriting awards. This production later transferred to the West End.