John Joe Moran is a 34-year-old dreamer, a 'fooleen' of a man who can't decide whether to stick it out at home, or emigrate out to the great unknown. Instead, he toes neither line, choosing to half-working and half-dreaming his way to unemployment amid a community which struggles unceasingly with disguising the outward signs of their poverty.
A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer's Assistant is a comedy about an unfunny situation, where laughs are found in the saying (in dreams) of what goes unsaid in real life. The resolution of John Joe's situation comes not from him maturing to a point of firm decision, but rather by shouting the absurdity of the choice from the rooftops.
A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer's Assistant premiered at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in 1969.