Go to Angus' resume The Steward of Christendom
by Sebastian Barry

About the Play
The Steward of Christendom

Steward of Christendom poster Angus Hepburn 63

















The Steward of Christendom was written in the mid-nineties by one of the least known of the new Irish voices, Sebastian Barry. It was first produced in London at the Royal Court Theatre as a joint production with "Out Of Joint", directed by Max Stafford Clark with the great Irish actor Donal McCann as the Steward. It was awarded a Writer's Circle award and the London Critics Circle award for Best Play and was brough to BAM for a short run.
Angus Hepburn, Gina Edmond, Sarah Shea, Priscilla Squiers 64 The New York Times talked about " ...the cool, elegaic eye of James Joyce's The Dead; the bleak absurdity of Samuel Beckett's lost, primal characters; the cosmic anger of King Lear.
As with so much of Barry's work, it deals with his family, in this case, his great grandfather who was one of the last Chief Superintendents of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, now seventy-five years old and senile, fading away in a mental home in Wicklow. He was a man with fierce beliefs - in Ireland and in the British Monarchy that ruled the country. As the battle for independence raged, he became less and less able to reconcile these two loves until the strain took hold of his mind and twisted it into dark places from which he could not escape.
Kathleen Gould, Angus Hepburn 29 During the course of the play, set in his bare room in the home, the ghosts of his past flow by - moments of joy and of anguish as his fragmented brain tries to find the peace he so desperately wants. We meet his three daughters, Dolly, Maud and Annie and his son Willie who was killed in the Great War at times of family joy and family tension, each coping with the changes in Ireland in their own way. Angus Hepburn, John Adair 17 Reality comes in the form of Mrs O'Dea, who keeps the inmates of the home clothed, and Mr. Smith who keeps them peaceable! Smith epitomizes those in Ireland who saw only the position and not the man and his gradual realization of who Thomas Dunne was culminates in one of the most touching scenes of the play.
Angus Hepburn, Connor Frost 96 Dunne recalls meeting new recruits, dressing for the hand-over of Dublin Castle to Michael Collins, the first appearance of Matthew Kerwin whom Maud eventually married, Annie's sense of isolation because of the physical damage done to her by an early bout of polio, Dolly's farewell as she sets off for America and Dolly's birth - the birth that killed Cissie, Dunne's wife. All of these memories together with glimpses of Thomas as a child weave in and out of a fragmented temporal line leading to a form of expiation.


The Steward of Christendom
by Sebastian Barry
directed by Cara Caldwell Watson


Cast in order of appearance

Thomas Dunne.............................. Angus Hepburn
Mr. Smith............................................... John Adair
Mrs. O'Dea....................................... Kathleen K. Gould
Recruit.................................................... Peter Frost
Willie Dunne....................................... Connor Frost
Annie Dunne.......................................... Priscilla Squiers
Maud Dunne....................................... Sarah Shea
Dolly Dunne.......................................... Gina Edmond
Matt Kirwin......................................... Peter Frost









the setting
the County Home in Baltinglass, County Wicklow, in about 1932


Producer................................................... Cara Caldwell Watson
Set/Lighting Designer.......................... Peter Petrino
Stage Manager...................................... Randy Lashua
Costumer............................................. Jan Huber
Set and Set Dressing........................ Peter Petrino, Frank Watson
Properties.......................................... Janna Goodspeed
Sound................................................. James Hepburn, Chris McInerney, Chris De Laurentis, Jim Ambury
Lighting Operator.................................. Mathew Rodriguez
Electrician........................................... Joe Yates, Joe Yates, Jr.
Crew.................................................... Amy Beth Pitura
Production Photographer.................. Susan Roos
Program/Poster Design.......................... 16th Street Graphics
















Thanks to Eric Teitel, Deborah Clifford, Carol Schieff, Maconda Goodwin, The Elephant's Trunk, Ed and Meg Maloney, John Cuk, Chappaqua Drama Group, Joan Silbersher of Antiques and Tools, Lee Pope and her wonderful staff.
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