John Kelly, Irish painter and printmaker, 1932-2006

Press Cuttings Significant New Irish Play

The most interesting new play for some time in Dublin is “The Third Day” by John Kelly at the Gate.

Telling of three days in the lives of two Dublin down-and-outs living in a Mountjoy Square tenement, it is a play in the approved modern manner and belongs to the so-called “new wave” in the theatre.

There is scarcely any plot, there is an amount of philosophising about life and death, and at times it is mystifying, in its development it owes something to Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, the two acknowledged leaders of the “new wave”.

Glimmer of Hope

But of all the “new wave” dramas I’ve seen – from “Waiting for Godot” to Pinter’s “The Caretaker” (which, coincidentally, will have its Dublin premiere next week at the Olympia) this is the only one that does not make a virtue out of despair and frustration.

These two Dublin outcasts find the human condition harsh, bitter and lacking in charity, but they also see a glimmer of hope, and in this respect are unique in the contemporary theatrical scene.

Too shy

For a first play, it is an achievement, although there are faults in the characterisation and construction. It will not be to every theatregoer’s liking, but it deserves to be seen. Kelly, who is an artist, (he has held three exhibitions of religious paintings) is well served by his players, especially John Molloy and Aidan Grennell as the vagabonds.

The author was to shy to come to the stage on the first night. Such modeaty is rare in the Dublin theatre.

J.J. Finegan, Evening Herald, 05.08.1961