Sive (play)

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Written byJohn B. Keane
CharactersLiam Scuab
Mike Glavin
Mena Glavin
Nanna Glavin
Thomasheen Seán Rua
Pats Bocock
Seán Dóta
Date premieredMarch 1959
Place premieredWalsh's Ballroom, Listowel, Ireland
Original languageEnglish
SubjectIllegitimacy, marriage, poverty
GenreTragedy, drama
SettingRural County Kerry, 1960s

Sive /ˈsv/ is a play by the Irish writer John B. Keane, first performed in Listowel, County Kerry in 1959.[1] Keane chose to use the name "Sive" for the play in honor of his sister, Shiela, using the Irish-Gaelic form of the name.[2]

Performance history[edit]

After being rejected by the Abbey Theatre, The Listowel Drama Group produced the play. Sive first performed in Christy's Ballroom, Listowel, Co. Kerry. The play was an overall success, but John B. Keane noted that some took offense to the melodramatic content of the play, calling it blasphemous and pornographic based on the appearance of Sive as a young girl.[3]

In the first performances of the play, Nora Relihan played Mena Galvin, Margaret Dillon performed as Sive, and John B. Keane himself played Carthalawn.[4]

The play is still widely known throughout Ireland, usually being a piece of theatre taught in Irish school systems.


  1. ^ "Archives and Special Collections - James Hardiman Library: John B. Keane and 'Sive' - the Irish Dramatic Tradition". 9 February 2011.
  2. ^ Des., Hickey (1992-01-01). John B : the real Keane. Mercier Press. ISBN 1856350657. OCLC 28548700.
  3. ^ Keane, John B. (1964). Self Portrait. Cork: Mercier Press. p. 92. Some others resented 'Sive', said it was blasphemous and ungodly, and noisily gave vent to their opinions while the play was in progress.
  4. ^ Keane, John B. (1964). Self Portrait. Cork: Mercier Press. pp. 87–98.

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