Playboy of the Western World

The debut production of The Playboy of the Western World -- John Synge's tragicomedy of rural life in Ireland -- at Dublin's Abbey Theatre (in 1907) caused a full-scale riot and elicited cries of "Kill the author!" from the angry audience. Five hundred police were required to quell the tumult.

The problem? Synge's portrayal of peasant life and his use of such words as "shift" -- another term for petticoat.

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