DRAM30250 Theatre of Martin McDonagh

Academic Year 2021/2022

Evaluations of Martin McDonagh’s work to date have relied substantially on the complex relationship between theatre space, language, character and action, and more significantly, on the connections between the written and performed texts and the Irish contexts within which the majority of the plays are set. All the plays have been brushed by a range of critical analyses that relies on everything from Marxism to post-colonial theory, from feminist and gender evaluations, to an interrogation of the postmodern imperatives and postdramatic inclinations in the work.

This module will examine the dramatic and film works of Martin McDonagh as text and performance. It will consider the plays in detail as well as analyse the critical responses and contextualizations of the work. It will consider how appropriate it is to place the work within an Irish tradition and/or whether it is more important to situate the work in a broader world-wide context.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

• Will be able to critically evaluate and contextualize the work of Martin McDonagh

• Will have interrogated the critical frameworks through which critics and commentators consider the plays

• Will understand issues surrounding verisimilitude, mimetic realism, and context, in performative, political and socio-economic terms

• Will have considered how the conventions of a notional naturalism/realism inform but also limit the texts in unusual ways,

• Will have reflected on issues of Irishnesss and representations.

• Will have considered the relationship between text and performance

Indicative Module Content:

Critical readings will be assigned each week.

Seminars- Provisional Outline

Wk 1- Introduction: General Overview

Wk 2- The Beauty Queen of Leenane

Wk 3- The Lonesome West and A Skull in Connemara

Wk 4 The Cripple of Inishmaan

Wk 5 The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Wk 6- A Behanding in Spokane and Hangmen

Wk 7- Six Shooter & Seven Psychopaths
Reading Week

Wk 8- 3 Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri and A Very Very Very Dark Matter

Wk 9- The Pillowman

Wk 10- In Bruges

Essay consultation/ Book at time

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Features of Teaching: Seminar. It is expected that students will have read the play in advance of class and are ready to discuss the work in a seminar. Each week a critical reading will be assigned. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Theatre of Martin McDonagh (ENG32030)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Class preparation. Bullet points for discussion and proof of reading of single critical reading assigned for each seminar Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded Yes


Essay: Final Essay Week 12 n/a Graded Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Online feedback on Bright Space Individual consultation prior to essay submission Face to Face feedback available after examination


McDonagh, Martin The Beauty Queen of Leenane, A Skull in Connemara, and The Lonesome West in Plays 1 (London: Methuen, 1999).
------ The Cripple of Inishmaan, (London: Methuen, 1997)
------ The Lieutenant of Inishmore (London: Metheun, 2001)
------ The Pillowman (London: Faber and Faber, 2003)
------ A Behanding in Spokane (New York, New Dramatists Series, 2011 )
------ Hangmen (London: Faber and Faber, 2013)
------- A Very Very Very Dark Matter (London: Faber ,2018)

In Bruges, (2008)
Six Shooter (2006)
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
3 Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Secondary Reading


Chambers, Lilian and Eamonn Jordan, eds., The Theatre of Martin McDonagh: A World of Savage Stories, (Carysfort Press, Dublin, 2006)

Rankin Russell, Richard, Martin McDonagh: A Casebook (London: Routledge, 2007)

Jordan, Eamonn, From Leenane to LA: The Theatre and Cinema of Martin McDonagh (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2014)

Jordan, Eamonn, Justice in the Plays and Films of Martin McDonagh (Palgrave: 2020)
Lonergan, Patrick, The Theatre and Films of Martin McDonagh (Critical Companions) (Methuen: London 2012)
Name Role
Mr Ciarán Leinster Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Ashley Taggart Lecturer / Co-Lecturer