Irish dramatist who born July 21, 1928 and passed away May 30, 2002 after a long battle with prostrate cancer. The work of John B. Keane has charted, with wit and passion, changes in rural Ireland since the sixties. He lived out his life in his pub in Listowel a small rural town in County Kerry. The colourful characters that frequented his public house provided much of the material for his plays.
He penned his first play, 'SIve,' in 1959. This went on to win at the All Ireland Drama Festival. This was followed by the musical 'Many Young Men of Twenty' (1961) which dealt with the issue of emmigration and yielded a hit single! Other plays from the sixties included 'The man from Clare', 'Hut 42',
'The Year of the Hiker', 'The Field' and 'Big Maggie'.
The FIeld was adapted to a movie in 1996 with Richard Harris playing the Bull McCabe. A running theme through John B's work, best exemplified in the character of the Bull McCabe, was the importance of land ownership to the rural Irish and how a man could be driven to kill to defend it. Big Maggie was another successful play that ran on Broadway for two months.
Other plays by John B. Keane include The Chastitude (a touching comedy about a virginal middle-aged man), The Matchmaker and The buds of Ballybunion. He also wrote prose and novels including The Bodhran makers, The Contractors and Durango. This last was made into a feature film.
Images of the John B. Keane pub at www.kerryweb.ie/destination-kerry/listowel/keane.htm.
I know there are witty John B. Keane quotations out there. I'll put them up here as I find them
Sources included www.johnbkeane.com