I Never Had a Proper Job

32 in stock

SQ5311485 , , ,
  • "I Never had a Proper Job is really special from first to last. A proven master of the short-story form, Barry's text is alive with creative detail; vivid, comic, wise and at times, intensely moving. . . . This work will become part of Irish theatrical history – deservedly.” —Eugene McCabe

Meet The Author

Barry Cassin’s life in the theatre began in the days of the “fit-ups”, when a company visited a different town every week and staged a different play each night. He directed the first productions of John B. Keane’s The Field, Big Maggie, The Year of the Hiker and The Matchmaker. Barry also spent over fifty years as an adjudicator of amateur drama, including five All-Ireland Finals in Athlone. In the 1950s, he ran the 37 Theatre Company, then operating from a basement in Dublin’s Baggot Street, where he staged the first Irish production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. He returned to acting in the 1980s in the Lyric Theatre Belfast, in Graham Reid’s Lengthening Shadows. He appeared regularly in films, including The Count of Monte Cristo, and Byzantium, directed by Neil Jordan. Barry lived near Balbriggan in north County Dublin with his wife Nancy, with whom he had five children; he died in 2017.

I Never Had A Proper Job is a charming memoir which covers many subjects: the Catholic Church’s power over society; corporal punishment in schools; poverty; war-time rationing; and the general innocence of children at the time. However, it avoids falling into the category of yet another biography set in ‘Old Dublin’ for it is told from the unique perspective of a boy who wants to be an actor. Such a decision challenges everything he is taught including the course set out for his solid job. Delving into the world of Theatre and Drama, Cassin recalls the actors and stars of his time; he records the fit-up touring days; running a tiny theatre club in Baggot Street, Dublin, and a 200-seater, the 37 Theatre Club in O’Connell Street before the fire authorities and then a business firm ejected him.

While the harsh reality of the Dublin of the time is ever-present, I Never Had A Proper Job explores an alternative side of it in the Arts scene at work. Not all his stories are from the theatre. This is the story of Barry Cassin, the child, man, husband and father. He recalls his youth, his parents, and particularly his wife, Nancy, who failed totally to turn him into a farmer. The result is a delightful and entertaining read. A must-have for not only theatre and culture aficionados, but those interested in a way of living long gone.

Weight 0.343 kg