Composers and their stage works 

Shadow and Substance

Paul Vincent Carroll

Drama (1937) presenting the conflicting forces in Ireland, which finally cause the death of an innocent girl.

Canon Skerritt, a man of taste and intelligence, is extremely proud and feels himself superior to his parishioners. He is in constant conflict with Dermot O'Flingsley, the liberal-thinking schoolmaster, whom he regards as a troublemaker. The only thing the two men have in common is their affection for Canon Skerritt's servant Brigid, who in turn loves them both.

A devout, ingenuous girl, Brigid has confided to O'Flingsley that St. Brigid appears to her in visions. Sympathizing with her, he urges her to tell the canon, but when she does, the canon refuses to believe her. Meanwhile, the canon discovers that the schoolmaster is the author of a controversial book and discharges him. Because of the book, the townspeople's rage against O'Flingsley mounts dangerously, and Brigid sees in a vision that there will be violence. She rushes out to prevent trouble but is killed by a rock thrown at the schoolmaster.

As Canon Skerritt and O'Flingsley stare at her body, each realizes that he shares responsibility for her death.
[Carol Gelderman]