The Power of Darkness, Paperback

The Power of Darkness Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


In an old Irish farmhouse, the wealthy but ailing Peter King and his second young wife, Eileen are surrounded at close quarters by the smothering attentions of interested parties, from Paddy the casual labourer to Paul, a handsome young workman.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Plays, playscripts
  • ISBN: 9780571167098



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John McGahern’s first stage play is a dark, brooding portrayal of the rural Irish life of two families. Peter King is a landowner in the mold of many of McGahern’s father-figure characters: greedy, venal, brutal, with a tough exterior but ultimately weak. He’s hoarded cash in a safe over the years and now he’s dying. His young second wife, Eileen, is more confused than bereft. She’s been having an affair with their workman, Paul. Baby, Paul’s mother - who is anything but a baby - gives Eileen pills to help speed Peter’s already certain death along. She also encourages the weak and stupid Eileen to get into the safe and get the money before Peter can call for his sister to turn over control of his estate to her.There are no innocents in The Power of Darkness. Maggie, Peter’s daughter from his first marriage, takes up with Paul, after he’s married to Eileen. Paul is both intoxicated and repulsed by the money. Paul’s father, Oliver, keeps spouting off about how things are “a disgrace before God” but is powerless to do anything. The Power of Darkness is a powerful script that I’d love to see staged.

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