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Shadow of a Gunman

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Tommy Owens is one of the comical characters within the play. His character is a young man aged around twenty five, yet I doubt that he looks it due to his scrawny build and lack of height. He’s a rough looking fellow, unwashed, unshaven and although he enters the play in a suit, its not a particularly smart suit and typical dress of a young working class man in Ireland at that time. To coincide with his ‘Gobshite’ image, he’d have rat resemblances. Small beady eyes, pointy ears and nose which make him look even more boy like, and can be seen peering through the gap in the door of the room before he enters.

Tommy is obviously a harmless character physically, and poses no threat, this will be obvious to the audience from their first glance at him. Throughout the time which he is in Seumas’s room, he is constantly told to ‘leave Mr Davoren alone,’ by Minnie who is obviously disgruntled at the fact that Tommy burst in just as she was going to kiss a gunman. He is not respected by any of the people who know him, and this is shown by the way in which Minnie constantly tells him to keep quiet and how later Mrs Henderson does the same. His voice is also something that adds to the annoyance that he causes.

The audience should feel this too. He has a husky voice with a nasal draw, caused by drink and smoking. This makes his constant desperation to say the right thing to Mr Davoren worse, he even sounds bad. He talks in a staccato manner which will be made obviously annoying to the audience by expressions on Davoren and Minnie’s faces as Tommy speaks. He’s a drinker like most Irish men and enjoys a trip to the pub everyday. Its mid morning at the tenement when Tommy arrives but it has to be made obvious to the audience that he’s had a few. I would have his fall through the door as he enters.

He will be obviously seen by the audience but not by the other actors and as he peers in nosily he’ll loose balance and fall through the door. Not actually falling to the floor but just peering a bit too far loosing balance and staggering in. His lack of confidence is shown through his absolute desperation to become friends with Davoren. He is a strong supporter of the IRA, but most of all just loves the hype and attention that surrounds the whole thing. His desperation to have Davoren like him becomes annoying to both Minnie and Davoren. Whatever Davoren says Tommy agrees.

I imagine he gets quite worked up as he singings the praises of the IRA and he will shake his fist as he speaks and often hold his hand to his heart, which conveys to the audience how strongly he is trying to make Mr Davoren believe he feels about the situation in Ireland at the time. He sings ‘God Save Ireland,’ at the top of his voice, I imagine Davorens face wincing as he reaches the high notes and his voice breaks, so he coughs up phlegm from his chest then carries on. His tearful statement ‘I’d die for Ireland,’ will be exaggerated he night even get on one knee and clasp his hands together as he wipes the tears from his eyes.

He wants to show Davoren how strongly he feels about it so that if Davoren is a gunman like he believes, he’ll have some kind of understanding and alliance with him. All of this is to obviously protect himself, Tommy lacks confidence. He insists that he tried to involve himself in the IRA but ‘they never gave me a chance. ‘ I think this is just a cover up, he would never have the courage to fight for his country, this can be seen both by his physical nature and by his whole reason for being there at the tenement house. Tommy is a man of all mouth and no action, that is what he is known for.

He tells lies to try and better himself. Tommy believes like that rest that Davoren is a gunman and even when Davoren puts it straight and denies having ‘connection with the politics of today,’ Tommy just assumes that its Davorens way of saying ‘keep it quiet’. He winks and nudges Davoren, he may even look at him puzzled for a while before he answers ‘You needed say no more, a nod’s as good as a wink to a blind horse,’ thinking he’s been trusted by Davoren, and that Davoren is simply covering up by denying what seems obvious to Tommy.

He’s very nai?? ve and his lack of intelligence are shown through his inability to see the truth. He is excited at the fact of being in the same room as Davoren and this makes his exaggerate all of his actions. I would throw my fist into the air almost taking myself with in, as Tommy screams ‘Up with the barricades,’ coming to the ground and almost toppling over on his ankle, which would be humorous to the audience. Davoren could shake his head slightly or rub his brow.

He wants to associate himself with Davoren and uses many different techniques to try and worm his way in. He constantly mentions Mr Shields whilst taking to Davoren, thinking that this will in some way make Davoren trust him more. He may look to Minnie for back up as he says ‘Mr Shields knows me well,’ and glance over to her giving her a nod but all Minnie’s interested in is when she’s going to get that kiss. Both of them just want rid of him.

He also uses physical contact to try and associate himself with Davoren. tretching out his hand and catching Devours. He will shake it furiously as a large and proud smile appears on his face. He sees Mr Davoren as a hero, and for Tommy, just meeting Davoren has been a great honour. He offers his services to Mr Davoren before he leaves ‘Tommy Owens only waits the call,’ raising his finger to his nose and tapping it as he leaves. I don’t think that he would have to help Mr Davoren but he wants to impress Davoren at every opportunity he has, which is the purpose and reason for all of Tommy’s actions within the play.

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