President Higgins leads tributes to award-winning playwright Tom Murphy as he passes away at 83
Playwright Tom Murphy has passed away at 83.
The award-winning playwright was honoured with the honour of the Golden Torc and the title of 'Saoi Aodana' in 2017 for his contribution to Irish literature.
He worked closely with The Abbey Theatre and Druid Theatre and is famous for a body of work which includes, 'A Whistle in the Dark', 'The Sanctuary Lamp', 'The Gigli Concert' and 'Famine'.
In a statement, President Michael D Higgins said that Murphy's contribution to Irish theatre is "immeasurable and outstanding".
"His themes were not only those which had influenced the very essence of Irishness, immigration, famine and loss - they were universal in their reach," he said.
"From the early beginnings of his writings in Tuam, Tom Murphy produced a unique and often provocative body of work. He was above all the great playwright of the emigrant, more than anyone capturing, in a poignant, creative way, the transience that is at the heart of the emigrant experience.
"It was such a joy to meet Tom so many times over the years, and a particular pleasure for any of us who have been privileged to call him our friend."
In a statement, the Druid Theatre said it had lost a "friend, colleague, great Irish writer and a great man of the theatre".
"Our thoughts tonight are with his wife Jane, with Mary, Bennan, Johnny, Nell & the extended Murphy family."
Born in 1935 in Tuam, Murphy has spoken about the "outrage" he felt growing up against the class system and the church. His father was a carpenter, and his family of 10 brothers and sisters was "decimated" by emigration. This outrage shot through his first plays.
London critic Kenneth Tynan felt Murphy was "the kind of playwright you wouldn't like to meet in a dark theatre," the statement added.
Murphy's wife, the actor Jane Brennan, fell in love with him for this. "He was mad, bad and dangerous to know. Of course that's irresistible, isn't it?" she once said.
Druid is deeply saddened by the loss of Tom Murphy. Today we have lost a friend, a colleague, a great Irish writer and man of the theatre. Our thoughts tonight are with his wife Jane, with Mary, Bennan, Johnny, Nell & the extended Murphy family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. pic.twitter.com/1av6RCKwK3— Druid Theatre (@DruidTheatre) May 15, 2018
With the death of the great Tom Murphy a giant has fallen and there is a gap in the world. Almost 60 years staging our darkest fears and deepest yearnings.— Fintan O'Toole (@fotoole) May 15, 2018
RIP Tom Murphy. Radical, truth-teller, inspiration. The greatest of them all.— Tom Creed (@tomcreed1980) May 15, 2018
Seeing the tweets saying RIP to Tom Murphy.— Darragh Doyle (@darraghdoyle) May 15, 2018
An incredible writer.
The @DruidTheatre productions of his plays were among my favourite, most thought and emotion provoking theatre experiences.
Much love to his family, friends, loved ones and those who loved him.
"All my life the feeling of belonging has eluded me; why should I go on thinking I'll find it?"— Kate Gilmore (@_kategilmore) May 15, 2018
R.I.P the unraveller of life; Tom Murphy
Tom Murphy read my first play and drew his pen through many lines. I will forever be grateful for the marks he left, and for those he made on Irish drama and Irish life. He showed us, repeatedly, relentlessly, who we were and who we could be. Thank you, Tom, you will be missed.— Meadhbh McHugh (@MeadhbhGalway) May 16, 2018