Dramaturgical Precedence: Music, Space and the Story in Conor McPherson’s The Night Alive and Girl from the North Country


  • Maha Alatawi Assistant Professor- Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University




Space, Music, Narrative, Irish Theatre


The spatial and musical cultures in The Night Alive and Girl from the North Country are complex and rich with meaning. Space and songs are integral components of both plays. While both plays have similar contexts in terms of being set within a great financial downturn, space and music are used differently to serve the narrative. The Night Alive relies on the creation of the space and setting to allow the audience a greater understanding of the characters and their backgrounds, whereas Girl from the North Country is a musical and therefore relies more on the music of Bob Dylan to help do something similar. This essay suggests that important aspects of Conor McPherson’s composition of space and music have been overlooked and that further examination is needed of the Irish experience concerning the significance of space and music used to advance a play’s narrative. Both plays deploy music in a way that assists the audience to become familiar with the space and in turn this creates a place, one in which the narrative of the play can sit comfortably.

Author Biography

  • Maha Alatawi, Assistant Professor- Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University

    Maha Alatawi finished her Ph.D. in drama studies at University College Dublin in Ireland where she also worked as a tutor. She is currently an assistant professor at Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. She published with Palgrave and Methuen Drama.  She has abstracts and articles published or accepted for publication as book and journal articles. She has papers presented in conferences in Dublin, Galway, Madrid, Athens, London, and New York. She won the award for best paper/ best presentation in the conference in Madrid.


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How to Cite

Alatawi, M. (2023). Dramaturgical Precedence: Music, Space and the Story in Conor McPherson’s The Night Alive and Girl from the North Country . ABEI Journal, 25(2), 119-137. https://doi.org/10.11606/issn.2595-8127.v25i2p119-137