Sara Keating: O’Brien and McGuinness grapple with the idea of legacy

Edna O’Brien’s Joyce’s Women seeks to illuminate the writer’s life through the eyes of the females who loved him, while Frank McGuinness’s Dinner with Groucho whimsically dramatises a meeting between Groucho Marx and TS Eliot

Genevieve Hulme-Beaman as Lucia Joyce in Edna O’Brien’s Joyce’s Women at the Abbey Theatre. Picture: Ros Kavanagh

Two separate productions at the Dublin Theatre Festival, which opened earlier this week, feature a cache of letters falling to the floor, an arresting slow-motion spin of weightless paper.

In Joyce’s Women, the scribbled-on sheets represent a life’s work: the voluminous correspondence of family and friends through which James Joyce’s fiction was made possible. In Dinner with Groucho, they are the poems and plays of TS Eliot and the drafted dialogue of his conversations with ...