The Beauty Queen of Leenane

“Martin McDonagh, the British-born playwright of Irish heritage and humor, made a sensational debut in 1996 with The Beauty Queen of Leenane, his bruising comic melodrama that announced the arrival of a wicked dramatic stylist.

Blending Dion Boucicault’s old-fashioned plotting with Quentin Tarantino’s bloodthirsty humor and a soupçon of Harold Pinter menace, Beauty Queen won great fanfare for the way its author wrapped audiences on both sides of the Atlantic around his devious finger.”

~ LA Times

“For anyone who saw the first incarnation of Beauty Queen, it’s hard not to miss Mag, Maureen and the fellas who came calling on them when they were bad. That version was about as ideal an introduction to New York as a young playwright like Mr. McDonagh, then still in his 20s, could wish.”

~ New York Times

“McDonagh re-creates traditional Irish family drama only to set it ablaze with a postmodern blowtorch.”

~ LA Times

“Like the best work in any dramatic genre, it is almost unanswerable.”

~ New York Magazine

The Beauty Queen of Leenane

Martin McDonagh (Playwright)

Pauline Miceli

Martin McDonagh was born in 1970 in London, England, to Irish parents who had moved there to find work.  The family included his older brother, John, and the pair of siblings grew up both close-knit and argumentative, and with later career paths that mirrored one another's.  Their father was a construction worker, while their mother cleaned offices and houses.

The McDonaghs sent their sons to Roman Catholic schools, and took them back to Ireland every summer to visit family.  Their father hailed from Connemara, on Ireland's west coast, and the rocky, windswept district would later serve as the setting for most of McDonagh's plays.

continued below ...

The Beauty Queen of Leenane

by Martin McDonagh

Nov. 9 - 11 & 16 - 18

Fri. & Sat. @ 7:30 PM | Sun. @ 3 PM

Featuring: Pauline Miceli, Marc St. Pierre,
Elinor Teele and Jeffrey Forte

Directed by Marc St. Pierre

(Home of Gloucester Stage)
267 East Main St. Gloucester MA

Reserve Tickets
with Cape Ann Theatre Collaborative

$20 Cash / Check at the Door

... McDonagh's brother left school around the age of 16, announcing his intention to become a writer;  McDonagh followed suit when he reached the same age, and both wound up living on public assistance and, a few years later,  taking over their parents' house after the elder McDonaghs had moved back to Ireland.

Over the better part of the decade that followed,  McDonagh watched television, read—the fiction of  Vladimir Nabokov and Jorge Luis Borges became particular favorites—and held various jobs, including a stint in a supermarket and another as an part-time administrative assistant at the British Department of Trade & Industry.

In 1994, McDonagh's brother went to California to study screenwriting, and McDonagh began a nine-month stretch of writing that yielded his first seven plays.  The first play he finished, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, he simply transcribed "like it was a conversation I heard in my head," he told Newsweek's Jack Kroll about the echoes of speech of his Connemara relatives he seemed to hear as he was writing it.

He began submitting the finished plays to theater companies, and received consistent rejection letters until the Druid Theatre in Galway, Ireland, contacted him and offered to stage The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

The play premiered at the Druid in February of 1996.

Excerpt from the Encyclopedia of  World Biography