Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Brief History of TRANSLATIONS

"I suppose I became interested in this theme because my great grandfather was a hedge school master, and my grandparents were Irish speaking," said playwright Brian Friel.

Translations was the first production of Field Day, a theatre group playwright Brian Friel formed with actor Stephen Rea, partly to produce plays for an Irish audience, and partly because having a theatre was necessary to get grant money to produce Translations. It premiered at the Guildhall Theatre in Derry in 1980.

The reception for that production was described as “euphoric,” “electric,” “triumphant,” and “a watershed in Irish theatrical history.” The Irish Press compared Friel to O’Casey and Synge, proclaiming he had “become the heir apparent to the throne of those literary giants.” David Nowlan wrote in the Irish Times that Friel “has now overtaken John Millington Synge as the prime writer of dramatic literature from Ireland this century.”

After its sold-out run in Derry, the Field Day production then moved to Belfast and Dublin (where it was a huge hit), and then a tour through other Irish towns.

Translations opened in London in 1981, where it was called “a national classic,” the most eloquent Irish play since The Plough and the Stars: possessing “a grace and conviction rarely encountered…”

Translations was produced on Broadway in 1995, starring Brian Dennehy, Dana Delany and Rufus Sewell who won a 1995 Theatre World Award for his performance.


Friel Bio

Bio with links

Friel playography

Friel on Broadway


Translations with links


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