A: Martin McDonagh Pf: 1997, Galway Pb: 1997 G: Com. in 4 acts S: Mick Dowd's cottage and a cemetery, rural Galway, 1990s C: 3m,1fMick Dowd, a widower in his fifties, is asked by the parish priest to exhume bodies from the cemetery to create more space for fresh burials. Mick is disturbed that he will have to raise the body of his wife Oona, who died seven years previously in a car crash. While Mick digs Oona's grave in the cemetery, assisted by the young and rather simple Mairtin Hanlon, the guard (policeman) Thomas, Mairtin's older brother, hints that Mick's wife might have been killed before Mick drunkenly drove her into a wall. Mick is horrified to discover that Oona's body is no longer in its coffin. Back at Mick's cottage, Mick and Mairtin, now drunk on poteen, smash the skulls and bones with hammers before they get dumped in the lake. Mairtin lets slip that he saw the locket on Oona's neck, something he can only have known if he was involved in stealing her corpse. Mick gets the incapable Mairtin to drive them to the lake and soon returns home drenched in blood. Thomas appears holding Oona's skull, which displays a hammer blow to the head, and insists that Mick write his confession. Mick agrees, but confesses only to the murder of Mairtin. Suddenly Mairtin appears, very much alive, and reveals that Thomas dug up Oona's body and hit her skull with a hammer to ‘prove’ that she was murdered. Mick burns his confession and swears that he never raised a finger to Oona.
A: Martin McDonagh Pf: 1997, Galway Pb: 1997 G: Com. in 4 acts S: Mick Dowd's cottage and a cemetery, rural Galway, 1990s C: 3m,1f
This dark comedy has obvious echoes of Synge, especially of The Playboy of the Western World, with the unexpected return of the ‘murdered’ man and subsequent reconciliation between ‘murderer’ and victim. After the hilarity of the comic violence, the final image of Mick kissing Oona's skull is quite moving.