Thursday, March 19, 2009


Sive, a tragic play by John B. Keane, was published in 1959, and was first performed by the Listowel Drama Group in the same year. It was also performed by other groups soon thereafter and the play received great praise around Ireland and England. (Sive's name is pronounced like sigh-ve (it rhymes with hive, as in beehive).

Act One, Scene I
On stage are Sive and her grandmother Nanna. Sive is the illegitimate child of Nanna's dead daughter. Mena (married to Nanna's son) enters and addresses Sive.

Mena: Your uncle and I work ourselves to the marrow of the bones to give you schooling and the minute I turn my back you're cohackling with that oul' boody woman in the corner. (To Nanna.) Some day the pipe will take fire where you have it hidden and you'll go off in a big black ball of smoke and ashes.

Nanna: (Slowly.) If I do, 'tis my prayer that the wind will blow me in your direction and I'll have the satisfaction of taking you with me. Aha, you'd burn well, for you're as dry as the hobs of hell inside of you. Every woman of your age in the parish has a child of her own and nothing to show by you.

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