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by Brian Abbott

A Rehearsed Reading

The Questors Foyer
November 1997

Directed by Francis Lloyd

Francis Lloyd (Director) writes:
In 1942, an English writer, Eric Cross, published his book The Tailor and Ansty, an account of the life of an elderly story teller and his remarkable wife, who were then still living in a remote part of Ireland. The book is charming, whimsical and affectionate, but its publication had devastating results. It was quickly banned for indecency, a ban that was overwhelmingly upheld after a four day debate in the Irish Senate. In England, the Government, fearful of upsetting de Valera's neutrality, ensured that there was no second edition. The final humiliation happened one afternoon when three priests arrived unannounced from Dublin, and forced the author, on his knees, to burn his book. He died soon after, a broken man.
Brian Abbott's remarkable new play is both a celebration of the ancient art of story telling and a fierce polemic against censorship.