An entire episode of a BBC series about the roots and evolution of modern theatre was devoted entirely to the Irish stage. Richard Eyre, the director of the English National Theatre, who produced the series, believes that beyond Shakespeare, there has been no more powerful influence on the modern stage than the work of Irish playwrights. The social satire of George Bernard Shaw, the wit of Oscar Wilde, Sean O’Casey’s celebration of working class life, and the haunting, humorous nihilism of Samuel Becket immediately come to mind. If you include Eugene O’Neill (and we do!), the Irish count four playwrights among their Nobel laureates. That is amazing for an island so small!