The Shaughraun

The Shaughraun

"The Shaughraun" is a melodramatic play written by Irish playwright Dion Boucicault. It was first performed at Wallack's Theatre, New York, on 14 November 1874. [Parkin, Andrew. "Selected Plays - Dion Boucicault". The Guernsey Press Co. Ltd. Great Britain: 1987. p.258] Boucicault played Con in the original production. The play was a huge success, making half a million dollars for Boucicault, which he squandered.


The play is about a Fenian fugitive, Robert Ffolliott, fiancee of Arte O'Neil. A country squire, Kinchela, his rival for Arte's hand, tries to hunt Robert down and arrest him, with the help of a police informer, Harvey Duff. Robert escapes various melodramatic cliffhanger situations with the help of Con the Shaughran (Irish "seachránaí" = wanderer, errant person), a roguish stage Irish poacher who provides a great deal of comic relief.

Robert's sister, Claire Ffolliot, is in love with an English soldier, Captain Molineaux, who is tracking down Fenians in the area. She cannot decide whether or not to protect her brother or betray the Captain. However, Molineaux's fish out of water attitudes to rural Ireland provide comic relief, and all ends well. The Fenians receive a general amnesty, the couples marry, Kinchela is arrested, and Harvey Duff falls off a cliff.


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