An essential text in the development of modern British drama First staged by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop company at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London, in 1958, The Hostage is a play about a Cockney soldier held as a hostage in a Dublin lodging house in exchange for an IRA man who is to be hanged in Belfast. Civic Guards accidentally shoot him in a raid on the house. It is a witty and often profound comment on Anglo-Irish relationships and on the Irish themselves. This is Behan's best-known and most popular play and a classic of the modern stage.A magnificent entertainment which "crowds in tragedy and comedy, bitterness and love, caricature and portrayal, ribaldry and eloquence, patriotism and cynicism..." (Harold Hobson, The Times)
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Brendan Behan was born in Dublin in 1923. A poet, short story writer, novelist and playwright, his works have found fame in both English and Irish languages. His sympathies being deeply republican, he spent some time in prison in his twenties.His most notable works include The Quare Fellow (1954), An Ghiall/ The Hostage (1958), Borstal Boy (1958), Hold Your Hour and Have Another (1963), Confessions of an Irish Rebel (1965), The Scarperer (1966). He died of alcohol related diabetes at the age of 41.
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