Sunday, October 09, 2005

The play takes place in the country village of Baile Beag, soon to be renamed Ballybeg. It’s the summer of 1833, in and around a “hedge school”---one of the traditional and fiercely Irish private schools that taught the Greek classics in the Irish language (also called Gaelic.) Most of the population speaks Irish, and few even understand English---which leads to many complications in this play.

Though the Irish and English characters don’t understand each other, the actors portraying them all speak English in the play. This leads to humorous and touching moments---and Friel won high praise for his skillful use of this device.


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