Dramatic figure | Roy Keane saga continues on the boards

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Roy Keane in hoops. Link to Daily Telegraph (U.K.) article.London and Manchester, England | Even with Roy Keane‘s northward move from Manchester United to Parkhead in Glasgow, he remains a compelling dramatis persona. His fiery exit from the Republic of Ireland camp at the 2002 World Cup finals has inspired several tragi-comic renderings, all set in ancient Rome. Irish playwright Colin Teevan last year performed a monologue, “The Keaniad,” on BBC Radio 3′s The Verb. Teevan imagines Keane “as a warrior hero who, at the hour of his country’s greatest need, chooses to sulk in his tent like Achilles.” The monologue has been adapted for Teevan’s play Missing Persons: Four Tragedies and Roy Keane, currently being staged at Trafalgar Studios in London.

The musical I, Keano soon makes its Manchester debut at The Lowry; producers already have promised seats for Keane’s former mates at United. Keane himself has enjoyed the production in Dublin, where he congratulated the actors backstage. Perhaps apocryphally, the actor portraying Ireland striker Niall Quinn (Quinness) is said to have been shocked at seeing Keane at the theater. “Jesus!” he said. “Quinness,” Keane replied.

Arthur Mathews, co-creator of Britcom hit Father Ted, collaborated on the story and lyrics. Mathews says:

It so works as a story to set it in ancient Rome. An army which marches into battle with a well-meaning general and a brave but erratic soldier. … Everyone seemed to have an opinion on that World Cup. Ninety-year-old women were ringing up phone-ins.

In its ability to salve the hurt from the tournament, Jasper Rees suggests in the Daily Telegraph (London) that the show might be called “Catharticus.”

The show is presently on its third Keane. One of the earlier Keanes, Irish writer and thespian Mario Rosenstock, has created his own football satire: a popular segment for Ireland radio titled “Jose Mourinho and His Amazing Technicolour Overcoat.”

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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