The Superlatives

Open Access
Brier, Mary Siobhan
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr. Jessica Jane O'hara, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Marcy Lynne North, Honors Advisor
  • Ireland
  • England
  • The Troubles
  • Play
  • The Guinness Book of World Records
  • IRA
  • Fiction
  • Political Polarization
  • Historical Fiction
  • Norris McWhirter
  • Ross McWhirter
  • Harry Duggan
  • Joseph O'Connel
  • Sir Hugh Beaver
  • History
  • The Superlatives
  • Siobhan Brier
  • Mary Siobhan Brier
The Superlatives is a two-act historical fiction play. It tells two parallel stories that alternate scenes, then intersect toward the end of act two. The first story is that of Ross and Norris McWhirter, identical twins with photographic memories, the original creators of the Guinness Book of World Records. The second story revolves around Emma Duggan and Colleen Butler, two impoverished women in Northern Ireland who grow up to become passionate Irish Republicans. Throughout the show, the main characters have similar experiences in their personal lives, but move further and further apart politically, with the girls becoming IRA leaders and the McWhirter twins spearheading political campaigns opposing the IRA. The storylines meet when Ross places a bounty on the head of Colleen, and in retaliation, Emma assassinates him. The play contains themes of political polarization and radicalization, and is a poignant commentary on the current divineness of our times.