• Boyd Letters



The Editor,
The Sunday News

For favour of publication


Truly, 'A Sleep of Reason' would seem to have settled on your drama
reviewer. In one of her two articles in your issue of 18th March she
has attributed to me two plays I did not write; but, for her information,
I did write The street and The Flats.

Comment is free, thereforebut 1 sha11 make nolittle comment on your reviewer's
judgment of my current play at the Lyric Theatre, Facing North.
ButHowever, I must correct/further factual mistakes on her part.
It is surely obligatory for a reviewer to read a theatre programme.
Your reviewer mustn'tcannot have a done so in this instance: the time end
place in Facing North are clearly stated there - as well as
beinf statedin the text. Also the Black Mountain is clearly
outlined in Shirley Bork's admirable set, even tothe detail of the
television mast (illuminated at night).
Another factual point:
Againthere are no Union leaders portrayed in this play:your
reviewer must have been asleep. Two factory workers, yes; but
it is stated clearly that tne Union refused to participate in the dispute.

Your reviewer commented on the acting, particularly that of Louis
Rolston. Mr. Rolston appears to be your reviewer’s bete noire,
(sorry to use a French phrase, for obviously your reviewer doesn't
understand either French or English, else she would not have coind such
a horror as 'cliched). Mr. Rolston, In myestimationview should not
be given the lion's share of thenblame'for this 'appallingly bad
play'. That honour', I'm glad to say, restswith me, the author.
Mr, Rolston is one of the finest actors in Ireland, and for Carmel
McQuaid to think otherwise is to display her ignorance of acting as
well as of the English language
. Furthermore, to assert that, with
one exception, r.Rolston did not react to any dramticincident is
demonstrably untrue.
Once again, your reviewer must have been enjoying her 'Sleep of Reason'
She professes ' to hate havingto send r. Holsten under the yoke again'.
Very well:LikewiseI hate to send herM/s .McQuaid under my yoke for the first and
(l hope) thelast time.This Her review displays both ignorance and
illeteracy. Your reviewr's knowledge of drama is negligible; her
presumption enormous;her taste abysmal.

My distinguished predecessor, C.B.Bernard Shaw, taught me self- advertisement,
a lesson wiich I digested, but have never as yet put into practice.
BernardShaw's own phrase was - as your reviewer doubtless knows
'beating his own big drum'.Unfortunately that phrase is ambigious
in this context
I confess Your reviewer impresses me in one aspect of her difficult

John Boyd
19 Jan
G.B. Shaw, North
Linen Hall Library, "Boyd099", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Fri, 07/19/2024 - 13:50, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/boyd099?page=2