The first English production in almost 100 years of the classic Ulster play
“We can’t understand everything. It’s no good trying to puzzle it all out. We must just have faith – that’s all. Just have faith.”
Rediscovered and commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, John Ferguson is another of their acclaimed series of rediscovered Irish dramas, following the huge success of another play by St John Ervine – Mixed Marriage in 2011.
Ulster in the 1890s. John Ferguson lives by the word of God, and believes there is a reason for everything. His wife, Sarah lives by the earthly reality around her. The family is on the brink of eviction from their farm, as a result of John’s ailing health. When a local man makes a proposition to their daughter that will save them all, there begins a spiral of events that will test John’s faith and his family to their limits...
Set in a rundown farmhouse in County Down, Ervine’s powerful tragedy, John Ferguson was first performed at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in 1915, establishing Ervine as one of Ireland’s greatest writers. The play was subsequently performed in 1919 at The Theatre Guild in New York where it was originally scheduled for just five performances – it eventually ran for more than 130, putting the Guild on the Broadway map and saving it from bankruptcy. It was last produced in England by Nigel Playfair at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith in 1920.
W.B. Yeats said of John Ferguson in a letter to St John Ervine – "A fragment of life, fully expounded and without conventionality or confusion…the best play you have done"
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