Meet the higher-toned (but equally bitter) Irish of Frank McGuinness, Carthaginians is a drama about contemporary Irish gathering in a. Fine Millennium Forum production of Frank McGuinness’s enduring classic. : Carthaginians (): Frank McGuinness: Books.

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Music and the Irish Imagination

Carhaginians writers, free content. Donate Now and Signup for Our Newsletter. Theatrical events have taken place in cemeteries before, but never has such a setting been so essential to a play.

Carthaginians is a drama about contemporary Irish gathering in a graveyard to talk about death and resurrection as they try to resolve their bitterness after British troops fired on protesting Irish on Bloody Sunday in The play, for the most part, is pastoral and quiet— suitable for characters sitting on the grass rather than strutting on a stage.

This production even integrated itself into the surroundings by having some cast members sit among the onlookers so we thought they were one of us until they started speaking. A belief in resurrection isn’t necessary to appreciate the play.


Even some of the characters themselves feel that when you’re dead, you’re gone for keeps. This is Northern Ireland in the s, and monolithic belief in Catholic doctrine is no longer absolute.

These people are well read and cognizant of history such as the Roman war against Carthage as well as The Flintstones on TV. They also accept homosexuality although homosexuality wasn’t decriminalized in Ireland until These characters are, however, steadfast in their contempt for Protestants and the British.

Other writers equate Irish authenticity with primitivism, but McGuinness stresses Irish intellectual interests, such as the historic parallels between Ireland and Carthage: Both were vibrant civilizations subjugated by other powers. But he amends the text, dreaming of frakn day when all people will join together in peace as long as it’s Catholic with Catholic.

He wants nothing to do with the damned Protestants.

These higher-toned people are a contrast to the lower-class Irish we see in dramas by that other popular Irish playwright, Martin McDonagh. McGuinness uses carthabinians fewer curse words. And McGuinness relies on quiet contemplative moments rather than on shocking action.


Carthaginians | Culture Northern Ireland

The setting was perfect, as this cemetery rises so high above the banks of the Schuylkill River that it seems otherworldly; you become unaware that a city is so near. A large cast of New York and Philadelphia-area actors did a convincing job, although the outdoor setting caused one problem.

The actors’ voices, as they moved around a large area, tended to vanish into the air, and sometimes were obscured by sirens or the sound of airplanes passing overhead. Body mikes and amplification would be a good idea for the future. Want previews of our latest stories about arts and culture in Philadelphia? Sign up for our newsletter. Pay our writers for professional content.

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