Brian Friel (1929- )


[erroneously reg. as Brian Patrick O’Friel and Bernard Patrick Friel resp. in parish and civic records; fam. “Scobie Friel” to his pupils]; b. 9 Jan. 1929 [vars. 5 & 10 Jan.], at Kilclogher, nr. Omagh, Co. Tyrone, son of Patrick Friel, a schoolmaster from Derry, who was orig. appt. to a school in Culmore, nr. Omagh (Co. Tyrone), afterwards returning to Long Tower School, Derry, 1939, and later still moving to Donegal; sometime councillor on Derry Corporation; Friel’s mother Christina [var. Mary; née McLoone], was a postmistresss from the Glenties, Co. Donegal; Friel was initially ed. at his father’s school and later at St. Columb’s College, Derry; grad. BA from Maynooth, 1948; proceeded to St. Patrick’s seminary, 1948-51 [36 months], finding it a ‘very disturbing experience’; entered St. Joseph’s Teacher Training Coll., Belfast; worked as a school-teacher in Derry, 1950-60; m. Ann Morrison, 1954, with whom four dgs. and a son; lived at 13 Marlborough St., Derry;
 
early plays for BBC NI [Home Service] radio, produced by Ronald Mason, 1958 (A Sort of Freedom, 16 Jan. 1958) and To This Hard House (24 April 1958); contrib. num. early stories in New Yorker from 1959; also wrote for BBC; became fulltime writer in 1960; A Doubtful Paradise (1960) performed unsuccessfully by Ulster Group Theatre (Belfast); contrib. num. articles to The Irish press, April 1962-Aug. 1963; issued The Enemy Within (1962) which played the for nine nights and transferred to Belfast Lyric Th., Sept. 1963; broadcast on BBC NI and RÉ, 1963; The Blind Mice (Eblana Th., Dublin, 1963), played for 6 weeks; revived at Belfast Lyric, and repeatedly broadcast on RE and BBC, up to 1967 but afterwards withdraw by the playwright; invited by Tyrone Guthrie to spend three months at his new theatre at Minneapolis as observer, early 1963, watching rehearsals of Hamlet and Chekhov’s Three Sisters (‘those months in America gave me a sense of liberation [...] my first parole from inbred claustrophobic Ireland’);
 
wrote Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Edwards-MacLiammoir Gate Prods., at Gaiety Th., Dublin, 28 Sept. 1964), set on the eve of Gareth O’Donnell’s departure for America from Ballybeg, and featuring a split-character (Gar Public and Gar Private - played resp. by Patrick Bedford and Donal Donnelly); Friel moved from Derry to Muff, Co. Donegal, 1966; formally left the Nationalist Party (N.I.) in 1967; issued stories as The Saucer of Larks (1962), set in Glennafushog, and The Gold in the Sea (1966); his plays, chiefly premiered at the Abbey, are The Enemy Within (Abbey 1962), dealing with exile of St Columba, also produced for television with Tom Fleming in the title-role; winner of Macaulay Fellowship; appt. Abbey shareholder, 1965; issued The Loves of Cass McGuire (1966), on emigration, and Lovers (1967), with Eamon Morrissey & Fionnula Flanagan in the leading roles; Lovers toured USA for six months; Philadelphia, Here I Come! produced in London (Lyric Theatre, 20 Sept. 1967);
 
contrib. ‘The Theatre of Hope and Despair’ to Everyman (No. 1, 1968); issued Crystal and Fox (1968); issued The Mundy Scheme (Olympia Th., Dublin 1969), a satire on the new Irish bourgeoisie concerning the sale of the West of Ireland for graveyards, first offered to the Abbey; Philadelphia filmed by John Quested, 1970; issued The Gentle Island (dir. Vincent Dowling, Olympia Th., 30 Nov. 1971), and later at the Belfast Lyric (18 Oct. 1972); Friel was present at Bloody Sunday Civil Rights March, 30th Jan. 1972 when 13 marchers were killed by British paratroopers; issued The Freedom of the City (premiered at Royal Court th., London, 17 Feb. 1973), a play already commenced beforehand but ‘sharpened’ by those events, dramatising the inquest relating to occupation of the Derry Guildhall by three squatters, Michael, Lily and Skinner, who are mown down by the Army, with alternate voices of the victims and their killers as well as interludes provided by a drunken ballad singer; the play was produced at the All-Ireland Final by the ’71 Players in 1976; Friel contrib. a ‘Self-Portrait’ to Aquarius (No. 5, 1972); also contrib. ‘Plays Peasant and Unpeasant’ to Times Literary Supplement (17 March 1972); his play Philadelphia Here I Come! was successfully revived at the Dublin Theatre Fest., 1972;
 
issued Volunteers (1975), also on the Troubles but involving IRA members and an archaeological dig based on the Wood Quay episode in Dublin and resistance to anti-heritage developers; Farewell to Ardstraw and The Next Parish (1976); Living Quarters (1977) [subtitled ‘after Hippolytus’ and reflecting the Theseus-Hippolytus myth], ending with the suicide of Frank Butler, returned from UN service in the Middle East, on learning of his wife’s adultery his own son [her step-son]; Aristocrats (Abbey, 8 March 1979); pub. Selected Stories (1979); wrote Faith Healer (Abbey 1979), narrating the death of the title-character Frank Hardy at the hands of a wedding crowd on his return to Donegal, and enacting the complex relationships between his world of imaginary powers and his manager Teddy and wife Grace; premiered in New York with James Mason as Frank Hardy, and panned by critics. 1979; afterwards produced successfully in Dublin with Donal McCann as Frank; performed unsuccessfully with Patrick Magee opposite Helen Mirren at the Royal Court (London), 1981, closing after six nights;
 
wrote Translations (1980), an exploration study in the politics of language-shift set in Donegal at the time of the nineteenth-century Ordnance Commission and featuring centrally a hedgeschool master Hugh and his forward-looking son Owen; premiered as first production of Field Day Co., opening at Derry Guildhall, 23 Sept. 1980, with Ray MacAnally as Hugh, Stephen Rea as Owen, Liam Neeson as Doalty, and Ann Hasson as Sarah [lighting by Rupert Murray]; later professed that Translations ‘was offered pieties that [he] didn't intend for it’; awarded Ewart-Biggs memorial prize for that play, 1981; Translations produced in London (Hamstead Th., 12 May 1981); issued Three Sisters (1981), after Chekhov; wrote The Communication Cord (1982), produced with a musical score by Keith Donald; awarded DLitt, NUI 1982; The Gentle Island revived in Dublin (dir. Frank McGuinness, Abbey Peacock, Dec.-Jan. 1988); Friel adapted Charles Macklin’s True-born Irishman as The London Vertigo (1992), a one-act play; wrote Dancing at Lughnasa (Abbey Th. 1990), set in August 1936 and dramatising the last moments of his aunts’ family life in Donegal - here the Mundy sisters, Chris, Rose, and Kate - shortly before they are forced into economic emigration to the English midlands, as narrated by the illegitimate son of the youngest;
 

offered Lughnasa to the Abbey rather than Field Day; the play was directed by Patrick Mason (Abbey Th. ( and afterwards transferred to New York, where it received three Tony Awards on Broadway in 1992 incl. Best Play; Friel formally resigned from Field Day in 1994, having expressed fears that the Field Day ‘political atmosphere’ of the group was steering his work; accepted his Tony Award with a paraphrase of Graham Greene (‘Success is only the postponement of failure’); Lughnasa filmed by Pat O’Connor in 1988 to a script by Frank McGuinness, with Gerard MacSorley and Meryl Streep, et al., acting; wrote A Month in the Country [after Turgenev] (Gate Theatre 1992); also Wonderful Tennessee (Abbey 1993), a play about the attempt to revive a Lough-Derg style pilgrimage and involving the attempted sacrifice of one of the group; issued Molly Sweeney (Gate 1994), concerning the blindness of the title character and the harmful attempts of her husband Frank and an opthalmological surgeon called Rice to restore her sight at the cost of her inner vision - based on a work by Oliver Sasks (To See or Not to See);

 
continues to live in Donegal; resigned directorship of Field Day in 1994; Give Me Your Answer Do! (Abbey 1997), produced by Noel Pearson; mbr. Aosdána; Uncle Vanya, dir. Ben Barnes (Abbey Oct. 1998); subject of a theatre festival in Dublin on occasion of his 70th anniversary, April-Aug. 1999, while Dancing at Lughnasa was produced in Paris in December 1999, dir. Irina Brook (dg. Peter Brook]; his play The Yalta Game, a one-act play, premiered at the Gate theatre in a three-some with others by Conal McPherson and Neil Jordan (Oct. 2001); Faith-healer was revived at the Abbey (Aug. 2002), with John Kavanagh as Frank Hardy; also at Almeida Th., London (Nov. 2001), dir. Jonathan Kent with Ken Stott, Ian McDiarmid and Geraldine James; issued Afterplay (Gieldgud Th., London, Oct. 2002), based on characters from Chekhov - viz., Andrey Prozorov from Three Sisters and Sonja Serebriakova from Uncle Vanya; issued Performances (2003), a play inspired by love affair between Janacek and Kamila Stosslova [var. Anezka Ungrova]; issued The Home Place (Gate Th., Feb. 2005), a study of ascendancy love for the Irish world they inhabit in times of Land League agitation, set in 1878, dir. Adrian Noble, with [Tom Courtney] as Christopher Gore; Derbhle Crotty as Margaret and Hugh O’Conor as David Gore; 25th Anniversary of Translations widely celebrated in Irish media, North and South, 2005;
 

Friel was elected a Saoi of Aosdána for ‘singular and sustained distinction in the arts’, and afterwards presented with a gold torc by President Mary McAleese to mark the fact, 22 Jan. 2005 (‘extreme unction [...] Aosdana’s last rites’); second revival of Faith-healer in Dublin with Ralph Fiennes, Ian McDiarmid and Cherry Jones, dir. (March 2006), transferring to New York (Almeida Th.), with Fiennes, McDiarmid; Seamus Heaney suffers a stroke at his house during the night of his Friel’s birthday party, and his varried to hospital (vide Heaney's subsequent poem and collection The Human Chain); Friel received the Ulysses Award of UCD, June 2009, the medal being presented by Seamus Heaney, and was made the subject of a conference in Paris celebrating his 80th year; Faith Healer, The Yalta Game and Afterplay staged at the Gate Sept. 2009; excerpts from Philadelphia, Here I Come! Translations, and Dancing at Lughnasa read at Abbey Theatre ‘Birthday Celebration for Brian Friel’, 13 Sept. 2009, with Thomas Kilroy and Seamus Heaney readings and performance of ‘Friel songs’;

Faith Healer revived at the Gate with Owen Roe [lead], Kim Durham and Ingrid Craigie, dir. Robin Lefèvre (Jan.-Feb. 2010), and toured to Edinburgh, Aug. 2010; commissioned portrait of Friel by Mick O'Dea unveiled at the National Gallery Portrait Collection, Dublin, 16 July 2010; Friel donated his literary papers to the National Library of Ireland in 2001; protested with John Hume against Foyle sewage plan at Carnagarve, Co. Donegal; latterly moved from Muff to Dromoweir, nr. Greencastle, subject of special section of The Irish Times at 80 (27 June 2011); Philadelphia and Molly Sweeney were revived concurrently at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, in Feb.-March 2014. DIW DIL OCIL FDA

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Works
Drama
Plays [first productions]
  • This Doubtful Paradise (1959);
  • The Francophile (Group Theatre, Belfast [?1960]);
  • The Enemy Within (Abbey 1962);
  • The Blind Mice (Eblana 1963);
  • Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Gaiety Th. 1964; London 1965; NY 1966);
  • The Loves of Cass Maguire (Dublin 1966; London & NY 1967);
  • Lovers (Dublin 1966; NY 1968, London 1969);
  • Crystal and Fox (London 1970);
  • The Gentle Island (Dublin 1971; London 1973);
  • The Freedom of the City ([Derry] 1973; London 1974);
  • Living Quarters (London & Boston 1978);
  • Volunteers (1974; London 1980);
  • Aristocrats (1979) ;
  • Faith Healer (Abbey 1979; London & Boston 1980; NY Longacre 1982);
  • Translations (Derry 1980; London 1981);
  • trans. of Chekhov’s Three Sisters (1981);
  • The Communication Cord (1982) ;
  • Dancing at Lughnasa (Abbey 1989);
  • Molly Sweeney (Gate 1994);
  • Performances (Gate 2003);
  • The Home Place (Gate 2005).
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Plays (publication)
  • Philadelphia, Here I Come! (London: Faber & Faber 1965);
  • The Loves of Cass Maguire (London: Faber & Faber 1967; Dublin: Gallery Press 1992);
  • Lovers (NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux 1968; London: Faber & Faber 1969);
  • Crystal and Fox (London: Faber & Faber 1970), and Do., in Two Plays (NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux 1970) [Crystal and Fox and The Mundy Scheme]
  • The Gentle Island (London: Davis-Poynter 1973) [playscript edn.];
  • The Freedom of the City (London: Faber & Faber 1974; Dublin: Gallery Press 1992); The Enemy Within, first publ.in Journal of Irish Literature, IV, 2 (May 1975), with a preface by Friel and an introduction by D. E. S. Maxwell [pp.4-6]; also in The Irish Play Series (Newark, Proscenium 1975); Do., [another edn.], introduced by Tom Kilroy (Dublin: Gallery Press 1979);
  • Living Quarters, after Hipplytus [of Euripedes] (London & Boston: Faber & Faber 1978; Gallery 1992) [viz., Theseus & Hipplytus];
  • Volunteers (London & Boston: Faber & Faber 1979; Gallery 1989);
  • Aristocrats (Dublin: Gallery Press 1980);
  • Faith Healer (London & Boston: Faber & Faber 1980);
  • Translations (London & Boston: Faber & Faber 1981);
  • Making History (London & Boston, Faber 1988), 71pp. [ded. ‘for Basil and Helen’];
  • Dancing at Lughnasa (London & Boston: Faber & Faber 1990), 71pp. [‘in memory of those five brave Glenties women’];
  • The Three Sisters, after Chekhov (Oldcastle, Meath: Gallery 1981), and Do. [rev. edn.] (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2008), 120pp.;
  • The Communication Cord (London & Boston: Faber & Faber 1983);
  • Fathers and Sons, after Turgenev (London & Boston: Faber & Faber 1987);
  • The London Vertigo (Dublin: Gallery Press 1991) [compressing Charles Macklin’s The True Born Irishman into one act];
  • Wonderful Tennessee (London & Boston: Faber & Faber 1993), 79pp., and Do. [rep. edn.] (Dublin: Gallery Press 1996), 93pp.;
  • Give Me Your Answer, Do! [Gallery] (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1997), 84pp.;
  • A Month in the Country: After Turgenev, with introductory essay (Oldcastle: Gallery 1992);
  • Molly Sweeney (Oldcastle: Gallery 1994);
  • Performances (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2003), 48pp.;
  • The Home Place (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 1005), 50pp.;
  • Three Sisters [rev. edn.] (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2008), 120pp.
  • Hedda Gabler: After Ibsen (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2008), 104pp.
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Selected & collected drama
  • Selected Plays, ed. and intro. Seamus Deane(London & Boston: Faber & Faber 1984);
  • Plays [Faber Contemporary Plays] (London: Faber and Faber 1996), Vol. 1, 456pp. [“Philadelphia, Here I Come!”; “The Freedom of the City”; “Living Quarters”; “Aristocrats; “Faith Healer”; “Translations”];
  • Plays (London: Faber & Faber 1996), Vol. 2, 400pp. [“Dancing at Lughnasa”; “Fathers and Sons”; “Making History”; “Wonderful Tennessee”; “Molly Sweeney].
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Short Fiction (original collections)
  • The Saucer of Larks (London: Gollancz 1962) [details]
  • The Gold in the Sea (London: Gollancz 1966).
Short fiction (selected & collected)
  • Selected Stories, intro. by Seamus Deane (Dublin: Gallery Press 1979)
  • The Diviner, The Best Stories of Brian Friel (Dublin: O’Brien Press; London: Allison & Busby 1983) [title story material for Faith Healer];
  • Selected Stories (Dublin: Gallery Press 1994) [incls. items from Selected Stories (1979) and The Best Stories (1983) [e.g., ‘The Foundry House’ and ‘The Diviner’].
  • A Man’s World (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2010), 56pp. [hb. ltd. edn; ill by ill. Basil Blackshaw - £100].
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Biblliographical details
The Saucer of Larks
(London: Gollancz 1962) contains the title story with ‘The Foundry House’ [concerning Joe Brennan, the lodge-keeper to the Hogan family; material for Aristocrats]; ‘The Potato Gatherers’; ‘The Gold in the Sea’; ‘The Illusionists’; ‘Everything Neat and Tidy’, et al.]

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Commentary
  • Essays, Diaries, Interviews 1964-1999, ed. Christopher Murray (London: Faber & Faber 1999) [contains ‘The Theatre of Hope and Despair’ (Everyman, No. 1, 1968);
  • ‘Self-Portrait’, in Aquarius, 5 (1972));
  • ‘Plays Peasant and Unpeasant’ (1972);
  • ‘Making a Reply to Criticisms of Translations by J. H. Andrews’ (1983), et al.

Note also Seven Notes for a Festival Program (1999), produced in connection with the theatrical celebration of his first 40 years in theatre.

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Miscellaneous (selected)
  • Preface to Michael Herity, ed., Ordnance Survey Letters: Donegal (Four Masters Press [2000]), 148pp.
  • ed. & intro. Last of the Name by Charles McGlinchey (Belfast: Blackstaff 1986) [see under McGlinchey [extract].

Note: dramatised Chekhov’s “Lady with a Lapdog” and later wrote Afterplay, featuring the two main characters from that story in an imagined subsequent meeting.

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Criticism

Anthony Roche, ed., Irish University Review, 29, 1 [“Brian Friel Special Issue”] (Spring-Summer 1999) [see contents].

Some Internet sources ...
  • Andy Morrison, ‘The Historical and Colonial Context of Brian Friel’s Translations’ [MA Submission, QUB 1998], in The Imperial Archive, ed. Leon Litvack [online];
  • Bruce Wyse, “Traumatic Healing, Romanticism and Sacrifice in Brian Friel’s Faith Healer”, in Romanticism and the New: Program for the Seventh Annual Conference of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism [8 August 1999] , ed. Julia M. Wright (Dalhousie University 2002) [online].
  • [...]

Select annual listing
    1970-1979
  • Sam Hanna Bell, ‘Theatre’, in Michael Longley, ed., Causeway: The Arts in Ulster (NI Arts Council 1971), pp.82-94.
  • Brian Friel, ‘Self Portrait’, Aquarius (1972), [q.p.].
  • Brian Friel, ‘Plays Peasant and Unpeasant’, Times Literary Supplement (17 Mar. 1972), [q.p.].
  • Robert Hogan, After the Irish Renaissance (Minnesota UP 1967; London: Macmillan 1968).
  • Robert Hogan, Since O’Casey and Other Essays on Irish Drama (Gerrards Cross: Smythe/NJ: Barnes & Noble 1983).
  • ‘Brian Friel’, in Des Hickey and Gus Smith, eds., A Paler Shade of Green (London: Leslie Frewin 1972), publ. in America as Flight from the Celtic Twilight (Indianapolis: Bobs Merrill 1973).
  • D. E. S. Maxwell, Brian Friel (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP 1973).
  • J. W. Foster, Forces and Themes in Ulster Fiction (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1974) [on his short fiction].
  • Edmund J. Miner, ‘Homecoming: The Theme of Disillusionment in Brian Friel’s Short Stories’, Kansas Quarterly, 9, 2 (1977), [q.p.].

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    1980-1989
  • Seamus Heaney, ‘Digging Deeper: Brian Friel’s Volunteers’, in Preoccupations (London: Faber & Faber 1980), pp.214-16.
  • Brian Friel, ‘Extracts from a Sporadic Diary’, in The Writers, A Sense of Ireland, ed. Andrew Carpenter & Peter Fallon (Dublin: O’Brien 1980), pp.39-40; rep. in Ireland and the Arts, Tim Pat Coogan [Special issue of Literary Review] (London: Namara Press [1983]), pp.51-61.
  • Fintan O’Toole, ‘The Man from God Knows Where’, in In Dublin, 165 (28 Oct. 1982), pp.20-23 [a spoof interview].
  • Richard Kearney, ‘Language Play: Brian Friel and Ireland’s Verbal Theatre’, in Studies, 72 (Spring 1983), pp.20-56; [available at JSTOR Ireland online]; Do. rep. in Transitions: Narratives in Modern Irish Culture (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1988), pp.123-60 .
  • Brian Friel, John Andrews & Kevin Barry, ‘Translations and a Paper Landscape’, in Crane Bag, 7, 2 [“Irish Forum Issue”] (1983), pp.118-24 [on sources of the play].
  • D. E. S. Maxwell, A Critical History of Modern Irish Drama 1891-1980 (Cambridge UP 1984), pp.200-12.
  • K. Birker, ‘The Relationship between the Stage and the Audience in Brian Friel’s The Freedom of the City’, in Maurice Harmon, ed., The Irish Writer and the City (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1984), [q.p.].
  • [q.a.], Interview with Brian Friel, Guardian (18 Oct. 1984), [q.p.].
  • Seamus Deane, ‘Brian Friel: The Double Stage’, in Celtic Revivals: Essays in Modern Irish Literature, 1880-1980 (London: Faber 1985), pp.166-73.
  • Declan Kiberd, ‘Brian Friel’s Faith Healer’, in Masaru Sekine, ed., Irish Writers and Society at Large [Irish Literary Studies 22] (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1985), pp.106-21.
  • Edna Longley, ‘Poetry and Politics in Northern Ireland’, in The Crane Bag, 9, 1 [“Contemporary Cultural Debate”] (1985), pp.26-40.
  • Ulf Dantanus, Brian Friel: The Growth of an Irish Dramatist (NJ: Humanities 1986; London: Faber 1988) [prev. as thesis at Goteborg, Sweden: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis 1985].
  • Ruth Neil, ‘Digging into History, A Reading of Brian Friel’s Volunteers and Seamus Heaney’s ‘Viking Ireland, Trial Pieces’, Irish University Review, 16 (1986) [q.p.].
  • Anthony Roche, ‘A Bit Off the Map: Brian Friel’s Translations and Shakespeare’s Henry IV’, in Wolfgang Zach and Heinz Kosok eds., Literary Interrelations: Ireland, England and the World, Vol. 2: Comparison and Impact (Tübingen: Guntar Narr Verlag, 1987), pp.139-48.
  • Ruth Niel, ‘Non-realistic Techniques in the Plays of Brian Friel: The Debt to International Drama’, in Zach and Kosok, eds., Literary Interrelations, Vol 2: Comparison and Impact (Tübingen: Guntar Narr Verlag, 1987), pp.349-60.
  • Sean Connolly, ‘Dreaming History: Brian Friel’s Translations’, in Theatre Ireland, 13 (1987), pp.42-44.
  • Donald E. Morse, ‘From Heaven to Hell: Ireland in the Novels of J. P. Donleavy’, in Zach and Kosok eds., Literary Interrelations, Vol. 3: National Images and Stereotypes (Tübingen: Guntar Narr Verlag, 1987), pp.217-22.
  • Marilyn Throne, ‘Brian Friel’s Faith Healer: Portrait of a Shaman’, Journal of Irish Literature, 16, 3 (Sept. 1987), [q.p.].
  • Catherine A. Wiley, ‘Recreating Ballybeg: Two Translations by Brian Friel’, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, 1, 2 (Spring 1987), [q.p.].
  • Richard Kearney, The Language of Brian Friel’, in Transitions: Narratives in Modern Irish Culture (Manchester UP 1988), [cp.126].
  • Wolfgang Zach, ‘Brian Friel’s Translations: National and Universal Dimensions’, in Richard Wall, ed., Medieval and modern Ireland (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1988), pp.74-90.
  • Ginete Verstraete, ‘Brian Friel’s Drama and the Limits of Language’, in Joris Duytschaever & Geert Lernout, eds., History and Violence in Anglo-Irish Literature [Conference of 9 April 1986. Costerus Ser. Vol. 71] (Amsterdam: Rodopi 1988), pp.85-96.
  • Michael Etherton, Contemporary Irish Dramatists (London: Macmillan 1989), pp.147-208.
  • F. C. McGrath, ‘Irish Babel: Brian Friel’s Translations and George Steiner’s After Babel.’, in Comparative Drama, 23 (1989), pp.31-49.
  • Ulick O’Connor, Brian Friel - Commitment and Crisis: The Writer and Northern Ireland (Dublin: Elo Press 1989), 24pp. [pamph.].
  • George O’Brien, Brian Friel (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1989), 148pp.

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    1990-1999
  • Ron [Follins] and Nina Rollins, ‘The Loves of Cass McGuire: Friel’s Wagnerian Music Drama, in Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 16, 1 (July 1990), pp. 24-32.
  • Richard Pine, Brian Friel and Ireland’s Drama (London: Routledge 1990), 269pp.
  • Christopher Murray, ‘Brian Friel’s Making History and the Problem of Historical Accuracy’, inThe Crows Behind the Plough: History and Violence in Anglo-Irish Poetry and Drama, ed. Geert Lernout [Costerus Ser., Vol. 79] (Amsterdam: Rodopi 1991), pp.61-77;
  • Robert S. Smith, ‘The Hermeneutic Motion in Brian Friel‘s Translations.’, in Modern Drama, 34 (1991), pp.392-409.
  • Ulrich Schneider, ‘Staging History in Contemporary Anglo-Irish Drama: Brian Friel and Frank McGuinness’, in The Crows Behind the Plough: History and Violence in Anglo-Irish Poetry and Drama , ed. Geert Lernout [Costerus Ser. Vol. 79] (Amsterdam: Rodopi 1991), pp.79-98.
  • Brian Arkins, ‘The Role of Greek and Latin in Friel’s Translations’, Colby Library Quarterly, 27 (1991), pp.202-29.
  • Richard Bonaccorso, ‘Back to ‘Foundry House’: Brian Friel and the Short Story’, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 17, 2 (Dec. 1991), [q.p.].
  • Colin Meissner, ‘Words between Worlds: The Irish Language, the English Army and the Violence of Translation in Brian Friel’s Translations’, Colby Quarterly, 28, 3 (Sept. 1992), pp.164-72.
  • J. H. Andrews, ‘Notes for a Future Edition of Brian Friel’s Translations’, in Irish Review, 13 (Winter 1992/93), pp.93-106 [critique of the handling of the Ordnance Survey in Translations].
  • Alan Peacock, ed., The Achievement of Brian Friel (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1993), 267pp. [see contents; and see General Bibliography, in RICORSO Library, “Scholars”, infra.]
  • Robert Welch, ‘Brian Friel: “Isn’t This Your Job to Translate?”’, in Changing States: Transformations in Modern Irish Writing (London: Routledge 1993), pp.224-69.
  • Rüdiger Imhof, ‘Re-Writing History: A Fresh Look at Brian Friel’s Volunteers’, in Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 17, 2 (Dec. 1991), [q.p.].
  • Gerald Fitzgibbon, ‘Historical Obsession in Recent Irish Drama’, in Geert Lernout, ed., The Crows Behind the Plough: History and Violence in Anglo-Irish Poetry and Drama [Costerus Ser. Vol. 79] (Amsterdam: Rodopi 1991), pp.41-59; espec. pp.41-47 & 49ff. [on Translations].
  • Joan E. Robbins, ‘Conjuring the Life of the Spirit in the Plays of Brian Friel’, in Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 18, 1 (Dec. 1992), pp.75-87.
  • Lionel Pilkington, ‘Language and Politics in Brian Friel’s Translations’, in Irish University Review, 20, 2 (Autumn 1990), pp.282-98.
  • José Lanters, ‘Gender and Identity in Brian Friel’s Faith Healer and Thomas Murphy’s The Gigli Concert’, in Irish University Review, 22, 2 (1992), pp.[279]-83.
  • Patrick Burke, ‘“Both Heard and Imagined’: Music as Structuring Principle in the Plays of Brian Friel’, in A Small Nation’s Contribution to the World: Essays on Anglo-Irish Literature and Language, ed. Donald E. Morse, Scilla Bertha & István Pilffy (Debrecen; Lajos Kossuth University, 1993), pp.43-52.
  • Katharine Worth, ‘Translations in History: Story Telling in Brian Friel’s Theatre, in James Acheson, ed., British and Irish Drama Since 1960 (London: Macmillan; NY: St Martin’s Press 1993), pp.73-87.
  • Barry Sloan, ‘“The Overall Thing”: Brian Friel’s Making History’, in Irish Studies Review, 8 (Autumn 1994), pp.12-16.
  • Marilynn Richtarik, Acting Between the Lines: The Field Day Theatre Company and Irish Cultural Politics 1980-1984 (Oxford: OUP 1994).
  • George Hughes, ‘Ghosts and Ritual in Brian Friel’s Faith Healer’, Irish University Review: Journal of Irish Studies, 24, 2 (Fall-Winter, 1994), [q.p.].
  • Helen Lojek, ‘Brian Friel’s Plays and George Steiner’s Linguistics: Translating the Irish’, in Contemporary Literature, 35, 1 [Wisconsin UP] (Spring 1994), pp.83-99 [available at JSTOR - online]
  • Elmer Kennedy-Andrews, The Art of Brien Friel: Neither Reality Nor Dreams (London: Macmillan 1995), 285pp.
  • Declan Kiberd, ‘Friel Translating’, in Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation [Chap. 33] (Jonathan Cape 1995), pp.614-37.
  • Josephine Lee, ‘Linguistic Imperialism, the Early Abbey Theatre, and the Translations of Brian Friel’, in Imperialism and Theatre: Essays on World Theatre, Drama and Performance, ed. J. Ellen Gainor (London: Routledge 1995), pp.164-81.
  • George O’Brien, Brian Friel: A Reference Guide, 1962-1992 (NY: G. K. Hall & Co. 1995).
  • Declan Kiberd, ‘Friel Translating’, in Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation (London: Jonathan Cape 1995) [Chap. 33], pp.614-23.
  • Anthony Roche, ‘Friel’s Drama: Leaving and Coming Home’, in Contemporary Irish Drama From Beckett to McGuinness (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1995), p.72-128, also pp.244-55 [discussion of Translations in Northern context].
  • Richard Bonaccorso, ‘Personal Devices: Two Representative Stories by Brian Friel’, Colby Quarter. 32, 2 (June 1996), [q.p.].
  • Alan Peacock and Kathleen Devine, ‘Other Dimensions: Myth, Ritual and Sacrifice in Brian Friel’s Wonderful Tennessee’, in Études Irlandaises (Printemps 1997), pp.85-100.
  • Shaun Richards, ‘Placed Identities for Placeless Times: Brian Friel and Post-Colonial Criticism’, in Irish University Review [‘Literature, Criticism, & Theory’ Iss.], 27, 1 (Spring/Summer 1997), pp.55-68 - available at JSTOR Ireland online.
  • Mária Kurdi, ‘Rewriting the Reread: Brian Friel’s Version of Turgenev’s A Month in the Country’, in Irish University Review (Autumn/Winter 1995), pp.284-97.
  • William Kerwin, ed., Brian Friel: A Casebook (NY/London: Garland 1997) [incls. Declan Kiberd, ‘Brian Friel’s Faith Healer’; Kimmer, ‘Like Walking Through Mme. Tussauds: The Catholic Ascendancy and place in Brian Friel’s Aristocrats’].
  • Shaun Richards, ‘Placed Identities for Placeless Times: Brian Friel and Post-Colonial Criticism’, in Irish University Review, 27, 1 [“Literature, Criticism, Theory Special Issue”] (Spring-Summer 1997), pp.55-68 [available at JSTOR Ireland online].
  • Danine Farquharson, ‘Brian Friel’, in Bernice Schrank, ed., Irish Playwrights, 1880-1995: A Research and Production Sourcebook (CT: Greenwood Press 1997), pp.97-107.
  • Christopher Murray, Twentieth-century Irish Drama: Mirror up to Nation (Manchester UP 1997), [q.p.].
  • Martine Pelletier, Le Theatre de Brian Friel: Histoire et histoires (Villeneuve d’Ascq: Press Univ. de Septentrion 1997).
  • F[rancis] C[harles] McGrath, Brian Friel’s (Post-)Colonial Drama: Language, Illusion and Politics (Syracuse UP 1999), 312pp. [see contents].
  • William Pratt, ‘Brian Friel’s Imaginary Journeys to Nowhere’, in World Literature Today, 73, 3 [Oklahoma UP] (Summer 1999), pp.445-50 [available at JSTOR online].
  • Anthony Roche, ed., Irish University Review, 29, 1 [“Brian Friel Special Issue”] (Spring-Summer 1999) [see contents].

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    2000-
  • Nesta Jones, Brian Friel: Making History, Dancing at Lughnasa, Philadelphia Here I Come!, and Translations [Faber Critical Guides] (London: Faber 2000), 197pp.
  • Paul Delaney, ed., Brian Friel in Conversation [Theater - theory/text/performance Ser.] (Michigan UP 2000), q.pp.
  • Richard Pine, The Diviner: The Art of Brian Friel [rev. edn.] (Dublin: UCD Press 2000), 409pp. [see contents.]
  • Conor McCarthy, ‘Brian Friel: Authority and Geography’, in Modernisation: Crisis and Culture in Ireland 1969-1992 (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2000), [Chap. 1], pp.45-79 [discusses Mundy Scheme; Freedom of the City; Living Quarters; Faith-healer].
  • Christopher Murray, ed. & intro., Brian Friel: Essays, Diaries, Interviews 1964-1999 (London: Faber 2000), 200pp. [interviews with Eavan Boland, Fintan O’Toole, Ray Comiskey, Elgy Gillespie, Paddy Agnew].
  • Redmond O’Hanlon, ‘Brian Friel’s Dialogue with Euripides: Living Quarters’, in Theatre Stuff: Critical Essays on Contemporary Irish Theatre, ed. Eamonn Jordan (Blackrock: Carysfort Press 2000), pp.107-21.
  • Bernice Schrank, ‘Politics, Language, Metatheatre: Friel’s The Freedom of the City and the Formation of an Engaged Audience’, in Theatre Stuff: Critical Essays on Contemporary Irish Theatre, ed. Eamonn Jordan (Blackrock: Carysfort Press 2000), pp.122-44.
  • Declan Kiberd, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’, in The Irish Review, 27 [“A Post-Christian Ireland?” Iss.] (Summer 2001), pp.18-39 [see extract];
  • Lionel Pilkington, Theatre and the State in Twentieth Century Ireland: Cultivating the People (London: Routledge 2001) [incls. critique of Freedom of the City].
  • Tony Corbett, Brian Friel: Decoding the Language of the Tribe (Dublin: Liffey Press 2002), 188pp.
  • Christopher Morash, ‘A Night at the Theatre 7: Translations [...] The Guildhall Derry Tuesday 23 September 1980’ [chap.], A History of Irish Theatre 1601-2000 (Cambridge UP 2002), pp.233-41.
  • Dawn Duncan, Postcolonial Theory in Irish Drama from 1800-2000 (Lampeter, Wales: Mellen Press 2004), 272pp. [ treats of Friel with Alicia LeFanu, Dion Boucicault & W. B. Yeats.]
  • Helen Lojek, ‘Brian Friel’s Sense of Place’, in The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-century Irish Drama, ed. Shaun Richards (Cambridge UP 2003) [Chap. 13].
  • Marilynn Richtarik, ‘The Field Day Theatre Company’, in The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-century Irish Drama, ed. Shaun Richards (Cambridge UP 2003) [Chap. 14].
  • Helen Fulton, ‘Hegemonic Discourses in Brian Friel’s The Freedom of the City’, in Language and Tradition in Ireland: ‘Continuities and Displacements, ed. Maria Tymoczko & Colin Ireland (Massachusetts UP/ ACIS 2003) [chap.; q.pp.];
  • John Brannigan, Brian Friel: Translations [York Notes; new & rev. edn.] updated by Tony Corbett (Harlow: Longman 2004), 103pp.
  • Suzy Clarkson Holstein, ‘Carrying across into Silence: Brian Friel’s Translations’, in The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, 37, 2 (Autumn 2004), pp.1-10 [available at JSTOR online].
  • Fintan O’Toole, [untitled] review of The Home Place, in The Irish Times (3 Feb. 2005), p.14 [see extract].
  • Chris Morash, ‘Viewfinding’, review of Brian Friel, The Home Place , in Times Literary Supplement ( 20 Feb. 2005 ), p.20 [see extract].
  • Donald E. Morse, Csilla Bertha & Maria Kurdi, eds., Brian Friel’s Dramatic Artistry: ‘The Work Has Value’ (Dublin: Carysfort Press 2006), 360pp. [Martin Mesterhazi, Ger Fitzgibbon, Giovannna Tallone, Michael Parker, Ruth Neil, Paulo Eduardo Carvalho, Richard Pine [interviewed], et al.; chiefly from Hungarian Journal of English & American Studies].
  • Anthony Roche, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Brian Friel (Cambridge UP 2006), 177pp. [contribs. Thomas Kilroy, Frank McGuinness, Patrick Burke, Richard Allen Cave, Anna McMullan, Nicholas Grene, et al.]
  • Niall McGrath, Spiritual Ciphers: Priest and Shaman Characters in Selected Drama by Brian Friel (Black Mountain Press 2005), 129pp.
  • Fintan O’Toole, review of The Home Place, in The Irish Times (3 Feb. 2005) [see extract].
  • The Story of Field Day (BBC1, [Monday] 16 Oct 2006, 10.35 p.m. [previewed by Sara Keating in The Irish Times (11 Oct. 2006);
  • Alison Younger, ‘“There’s No Race Like Home”: Race, Place and Nation in Brian Friel’s The Home Place’, in Nordic Irish Studies, 5, 1 (2006), pp.165-81.
  • Scott Boltwood, Brian Friel, Ireland, and the North [Cambridge Studies in Modern Theatre] (Cambridge UP 2007), xiv, 257pp. [see contents];
  • John Strachan & Alison O’Malley-Younger, eds., Essays on Modern Irish Literature (Sunderland UP 2007) [spec. O’Malley-Younger on The Gentle Island, and Paddy Lyons on Friel’s love-scenes];
  • Seamus Heaney, Spelling it Out (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2009), 20pp.
  • Timothy O’Leary, Foucault and Fiction: The Experience Book (London: Continuum 2009), 192pp. [incls. analysis of Friel].
  • Paul Murphy, ‘Brian Friel’s Wonderful Tennessee, or What was Lost in Translations’ in The Dreaming Body: Contemporary Irish Theatre, ed. Murphy & Melissa Sihra (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp.137-50.
  • Nicholas Grene, ‘Faith Healer in New York and Dublin’, in John P. Harrington, Irish Theater in America (Syracuse UP 2009), pp.138-46.
  • Andrea P. Balogh, ‘Postcolonial Sub-versions of Europe: Brian Friel’s Fathers and Sons’, in Sub-Versions: Trans-National Readings of Modern Irish Literature, ed. Ciaran Ross (Amsterdam: Rodopi Press 2010), q.pp.
  • “Friel at 80”, The Irish Times (Monday 27 June 2011) [see contents].
  • Richard Rankin Russell, Modernity, Community, and Place in Brian Friel’s Drama [Irish Studies] (Syracuse UP 2013), xi, 317pp. [see details].
 

See also Michael Cronin, Translation and Identity (London & NY: Routledge 2006); Scott Boltwood, ed., Renegotiating and Resisting Nationalism in 20th Century Irish Drama (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smyth 2009), et al.

 

Note: The Story of Field Day (BBC1, [Monday] 16 Oct 2006, 10.35 p.m. was previewed by Sara Keating in The Irish Times (11 Oct. 2006)

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Bibliographical details

Alan Peacock, ed., The Achievement of Brian Friel (Gerrards Cross 1993), 267pp.; CONTENTS: Alan Peacock, Introduction [xi]; John Cronin, ‘“Donging the Tower” - The Past Did Have Meaning’: The Short Stories of Brian Friel’ [1]; Neil Corcoran, ‘The Penalties of Retrospect: Continuities in Brian Friel’ [14]; Elmer Andrews, ‘The Fifth Province’ [29]; Desmond Maxwell, ‘“Figures in a Peepshow”: Friel and the Irish Dramatic Tradition’ [49]; Christopher Murray, ‘Friel’s “Emblems of Adversity” and the Yeatsian Example’ [69]; Thomas Kilroy, ‘Theatrical Text and Literary Text’ [91]; Seamus Deane, ‘Brian Friel: The Name of The Game’ [103]; Alan Peacock, ‘Translating the Past: Friel, Greece and Rome’ [113]; Robert Welch, ‘“Isn’t This Your Job? - To Translate?”: Brian Friel’s Languages’ [134]; Sean Connolly, ‘Translating History: Brian Friel and the Irish Past’ [149]; Richard York, ‘Friel’s Russia’ [164]; Joe Dowling, ‘Staging Friel’ [178]; Terence Brown, ‘“Have We a Context?”: Transition, Self and Society in the Theatre of Brian Friel’ [190]; Fintan O’Toole, ‘Marking Time: from Making History to Dancing at Lughnasa’ [202]; John McVeagh, ‘“A Kind of Comhar”: Charles Macklin and Brian Friel’ [215]; Seamus Heaney, ‘For Liberation: Brian Friel and the Use of Memory’ [229]; 241; Select Bibliography, 254; Notes on Contributors, 259; Index, 263. [See Bridget O’Toole’s review of this collection under Commentary [as infra.]

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Anthony Roche, ed., Irish University Review, 29, 1 [“Brian Friel Special Issue”] (Spring-Summer 1999] - CONTENTS: Anthony Roche, ‘Introduction: The Worlds of Brian Friel’ [vii-x]; Seamus Heaney, ‘The Real Names’ [1-5]; Harry White, ‘Brian Friel and the Condition of Music’ [6-15]; Christopher Murray, ‘Friel and O’Casey Juxtaposed’ [16-29]; George O’Brien, ‘“Meet Brian Friel": The Irish Press Columns’ [30-41]; Patrick Burke, ‘Them Class of People’s a Very Poor Judge of Character": Friel and the South’ [42-47]; Helen Lojek, ‘Brian Friel’s Gentle Island of Lamentation’ [48-59]; Frank McGuinness, ‘Faith Healer: All the Dead Voices’ [60-63]; Robert Tracy, ‘The Russian Connection: Friel and Chekhov’ [64-77]; Brian Friel, ‘From Uncle Vanya: A Version of the Play by Anton Chekhov’ [78-82]; Thomas Kilroy, ‘Friendship’ [83-89]; Anna McMullan, ‘“In Touch with Some Otherness”: Gender, ‘Authority and the Body in Dancing at Lughnasa’ [90-100]; Catriona Clutterbuck, ‘Lughnasa "After" Easter: Treatments of Narrative Imperialism in Friel and Devlin’ [101-118]; Csilla Bertha, ‘Six Characters in Search of a Faith: The Mythic and the Mundane in "Wonderful Tennessee"’ [119-135]; Nicholas Grene, ‘Friel and Transparency’ [136-144]; Anthony Roche, ‘Friel and Synge: Towards a Theatrical Language’ [145-161]; José Lanters, ‘Brian Friel’s Uncertainty Principle’ [162-175]; Richard Pine, ‘Love: Brian Friel’s Give Me Your Answer, ‘Do!’ [176-188]. Book Reviews incl. Peter Raby, ‘review of Wilde the Irishman by Jerusha McCormack; Christopher Murray, ‘review of The Irish Play on the New York Stage 1874-1966 by John P. Harrington; Brian Arkins, ‘review of Images of Joyce by Clive Hart; C. George Sandalescu; Bonnie Kime Scott; Fritz Senn; Jean Dunne, ‘review of The White Beach: New and Selected Poems 1960-1998 by Leland Bardwell.
—Contents page available at JSTOR - online; to access each article directly, open attached.

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Richard Pine, The Diviner: The Art of Brian Friel [2nd rev. edn.] (Dublin: UCD Press 2000), 409pp. Preface to the Second Edition [vii]; Acknowledgements [xiii]; List of abbreviations [xv]; Chronology [xvii]; INTRODUCTION [1]: Survey of the work [2]; Language [7]; Literature and politics [18]; Liminality, splitting and the gap [25] Memory and space [31]. PART I - Private Conversation: The Landscape Painter [37]; Man, place and time [37]; Drama as ritual [56]; The playwright’s commitment [67]; Naming things [74]; 2:The Short Stories [77]; Divination [77]; Homecomings [83]; Dignity and respectability [86]. PART II - Public Address: Plays of Love [97]; Radio drama [97]; The struggle of love [103]; Embarrassment [113]; Plays of Freedom [120] Dispossession [120]; Loyalties [126]; Laying ghosts [142]. PART III - Politics: A Field Day [163]; Plays of Language and Time [179]; History and Fiction [179]; Language and society[198]; Translating [209]; A National Epic? [215]; Language and identity [218]; Vertigo [228]; The gap [234]; Travesties [246]. PART IV - Music: Plays of Beyond [257]; Beyond [257]; The Child [260]; Ritual as drama [268]; Storytelling [279]; Blindness [288]; Love [304]; Magic [316]; A question of form[316]; Versions of the truth [322]; Ireland and Russia [333]. Conclusion [344]. Appendix: George Steiner and Brian Friel [359]; Notes [364]; Index [399].

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F[rancis] C[harles] McGrath, Brian Friel’s (Post-)Colonial Drama: Language, Illusion and Politics (Syracuse UP 1999), 312pp. CONTENTS: Acknowledgments [ix]; Abbreviations [xi]; Chronology [xiii]; 1. Introduction [1]; 2. Friel and the Irish Art of Lying [13]; 3. Enabling Fictions: The Short Stories [49]; 4. Apprenticeship: The Loves of Cass McGuire and the Early Plays [64]; 5. The End of Innocence: The Freedom of the City and Volunteers [96]; 6. Family Matters: Living Quarters and Aristocrats [135]; 7. Postmodern Memory: Faith Healer [158]; 8. (De)mythology: Translations, The Communication Cord, and Field Day [177]; 9. Making History [210]; 10. Dionysus in Ballybeg: Dancing at Lughnasa [234]; 11. Blindsight: Molly Sweeney [248]; 12. Conclusion, Resistances and Reconsiderations [281]. Texts Cited [299]; Index 309.

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Scott Boltwood, Brian Friel, Ireland, and the North [Cambridge Studies in Modern Theatre] (Cambridge UP 2007), xiv, 257pp. Chapters: Introduction - Friel, Criticism, and Theory; 1. The Irish Press essays, 1962-1963: Alien and Native; 2. The Plays of the 1960s: Assessing Partition’s Aftermath; 3. The Plays of the 1970s: Interrogating Nationalism; 4. Plays 1980-1993: The North; 5. Plays 1994-2005: Retreat from Ireland: The Home Place.

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Friel at 80”, The Irish Times (Monday 27 June 2011) [incls. Thomas Kilroy, ‘In celebration of a friend’; Sara Keating, ‘Delving into a divided Donegal landscape’; Colm Tóibín, ‘A craft of words to work a halo around the ordinary’; Fintan O’Toole, ‘Tracing a rocky path from the past’]; Fiach MacConghail, ‘Brian Friel: A Dramatic Life’; other tributes by Catherine Byrne, Joe Dowling, Kathleen Watkins, Stephen Rea, Rosaleen Linehan, Derbhle Crotty, Patrick Mason, Peter Fallon, Eamon Morrissey, Michael Colgan, & Conor McPherson].

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Richard Rankin Russell, Modernity, Community, and Place in Brian Friel’s Drama [Irish Studies] (Syracuse UP 2013), xi, 317pp. CONTENTS [Chaps.]: Mediascape, Harvest, Crash: Philadelphia, Here I Come! and Gar O'Donnell's Modernity; "Placing the Dead of the Troubles": The Imagined Ghostly Community of The Freedom of the City; Faith healer: From the Geopathic Shudder to the Embrace of Ritualized, Performative Place; Translations: Lamenting and Accepting Modernity; Dancing at Lughnasa: Placing and Recreating Memory.

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References
Helena Sheehan
, Irish Television Drama, A Society and Its Stories (RTE 1987). lists Crystal and the Fox, Brian Friel/Noel Ó Briain; Mr Sing, My Heart’s Delight, Brian Friel, adpt. Brian MacLochlainn/MacLochlainn (1974) ; Loves of Cass Maguire, The, Friel/Jim Fitzgerald (1969)

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 3: selects Translations [1207-36]; & REMS 564, 630, 632-33, 642, 643, 644, 648-54 passim, 1137, 1140, 1142-43, 1313, 1372n, 1377; BIOG & COMM, 1206-07 [as above]; also J[ohn] H. Andrews, ‘Translations and a Paper Landscape’, in The Crane Bag, Vol. 7, No. 2 (1983), pp.118-24, on the role of the history of the Ordnance Commission in Translations; see Crane Bag 7, no. 2 (1983) [FDA3].

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Robert Hogan, Seven Irish Plays, Introduction (Minnesota UP 1967), cites The Francophile (Group Theatre, Belfast), The Enemy Within (Abbey), and Blind Mice [chk. dates].

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Gallery Press (1995 Cat.) lists reprints of the following [with orig. dates]: The Enemy Within [1962]; The Loves of Cass Maguire [1967]; The Freedom of the City [1973]; Living Quarters [1977]; Faith Healer [1979]; Three Sisters [1981]; and A Month in the Country [1992]; also, Bibliography of works.

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Books in Print (1994): Aristocrats (Dublin: Gallery Press 1980, 1993); Communication Cord (Dublin: Gallery Press 1983, 1989); Crystal and Fox (London: Faber 1970, Gallery 1985, 1993); Dancing at Lughnasa (Lon/Bost: Faber 1990, 1994), also French’s Acting ed. (1992); Enemy Within (Newark, Proscenium 1975; Dublin: Gallery Press 1979, 1993); Fathers and Sons, after Turgenev (Faber 1987, 1994); Faith Healer (London: Faber 1980; Dublin: Gallery Press 1991, 1993); Freedom of City (London: Faber 1974; Dublin: Gallery Press 1992) 1992, 1994); Gentle Island (London: Davis-Poynter 1973; Dublin: Gallery Press 1992, 1993); Living Quarters, after Hippolytus (London: Faber 1978; rep. Gallery 1992, 1993); London Vertigo, after Macklin (Dublin: Gallery Press 1990, 1993); Lovers (NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux 1968; London: Faber 1969); Loves of Cass Maguire (London: Faber 1967; Dublin: Gallery Press 1984, 1992); Making History (Lon/Bost: Faber 1988, 1994); Philadelphia, Here I Come! (London: Faber 1967, 1994); Selected Plays, ed. Seamus Deane (London: Faber 1984, 1994); Three Sisters, trans. from Chekhov (Dublin: Gallery Press 1981, 1993); Translations (London & Boston: Faber 1981, 1994); Volunteers (Gallery 1989, 1993); Wonderful Tennessee (London: Faber, 1993, 1994; Dublin: Gallery Press 1993); Friel, ed., I. S. Turgenev, A Month in Country (Dublin: Gallery Press 1992, 1993); The Diviner, The Best Stories of Brian Friel (Dublin: O’Brien Press; London: Allison and Busby 1983)[WHITAKER & BNB].

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Acknowledgement: Numerous bibliographical details in the above listing under Criticism [supra] supplied by Sam McCready, University of Maryland Baltimore County <email>.

Website: There is an informative Brian Friel teaching webpage at Umea University, Sweden [online; extant at 27.03.2011.]

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Notes
Faith Healer, revived at the Almeida Th., King’s Cross, London (review by Paul Taylor in Independent [UK], 1 Dec. 2001, p.8); also revived by the Abbey Th., Aug. 2002, touring Ireland afterwards.

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Dancing at Lughnasa (1990), a play set in Ballybeg, Co. Donegal - Friel's fictional townland - it deals with the household of the Mundy sisters, Chris[tine], Rose and Kate, living in a rural home in 1936 some years before they are dispersed by economic hardships. The narrative is conducted by Michael Evans, the son of the youngest sister Rose with a travellings salesman from Wales who twice returns to visit. An elder brother who has served as a priest in Africa, where he has contracted animistic [pagan] ideas, hence providing comic relief but also an element of critique for Irish Catholicism of the period. Chris, the oldest and the breadwinner in her capacity as a school-teacher - shortly to be unemployed - was once a participant in the Independence movement, is now an upholder of strict morality and convention and an admirer of De Valera. Rose's illegitimate child provides a source of strain in the all-female family unit yet at the end they celebrate the Celtic festival of Lughnasa by dancing in a moment which quickly became iconic as an expression of Irish spiritual strength in the face of real adversity (much of it the product of a political policy of isolationism). The play was filmed by Pat O’Connor (dir.), with screenplay by Frank McGuinness. The dram. pers. were acted by Meryl Streep, Kathy Burke, Sophie Thompson, Bríd Brennan, Catherine McCormack, Rhys Igfans and Michael Gambon; music in dancing scene by Bill Whelan; premiered in Dublin, Sept. 1998.

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Making History was revived in Dublin in 2005, under direction of Geoff Gould for Ouroboros with as Denis Conway as Hugh O’Neill; Sinead Cuthbert won the Irish Times Award for Best Costumes; the production then toured Ulster. In 2007 by a sponsored journey along O’Neill’s and O’Donnell’s route to Kinsale and O’Neill’s subsequent journey from Mellifont Abbey to Rathmullan, resulting in performances at 15 OHP sites in Ireland, five in Northern Ireland - including Dungannon and Rathmullen - and three in Europe, including Louvain. the Rathmullen performance will be attended by Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, and will be staged in an Irish army tent. For Conway, it is ‘a play about how “official” histories are made and interpreted, it is particularly timely to be staging Friel’s play now that political stability has finally been achieved on the island of Ireland.’ (See Denis Conway, ‘History takes flight’, in The Irish Times, 7 July 2007, Weekend.)

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The Home Place (Gate, Feb. 2005): set in The Lodge, an Anglo-Irish house in Ballybeg in 1878, it revolves around a love triangle involving widowed Anglo-Irish landlord Christopher Gore and his son David, both of whom love their housekeeper Margaret O’Donnell, daughter of the local schoolteacher, a drunkard but an man of understanding; while Christoper’s racist English cousin Richard arrives to measure the skulls of Irish natives and land-league agitators manage to banish him with his phrenological apparatus to the perplexity of Gore, torn between loyalties and cultures, finally discovering that, though the Lodge is his home, he has not future in it. Premiered at the Gate Th. (Feb. 2005), Adrian Noble directing, with Tom Courtenay as Gore and Derbhle Crotty as Margaret; other parts being played by Hugh O’Conor (David); Barry McGovern (school-teacher); Nick Dunning (Richard); Pat Kinevane (Richard’s assistant), Adam Fergus, Michael Judd, Brenda Larby, Laura Jane Laughlin.

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Afterplay: Richard Pine writes (Books Ireland, April 2009: Corrigenda): ‘[P]lease note a small but important error in the review of Friel’s Hedda Gabler by Eamonn Kelly. He writes: “He [Friel] dramatised Chekhov’s short story “Lady with Lapdog” with great success and later he took two of the main characters from that story and dramatised a meeting between them years later in the piece Afterplay.” / The two characters in Friel’s Afterplay are in fact Andrey Prozorov from Three Sisters and Sonja Serebriakova from Uncle Vanya. The dramatisation of Dmitri Dmitrich Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna from “Lady with Lapdog” (in The Yalta Game) bears no relation to the characters in Afterplay.’ In his attached apology, Eamonn Kelly replies, ‘I’m afraid l trusted my memory without checking.’ (BI, p.72.)

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Ordnance Survey (I): The acknowledged chief source of Friel’s conception of the work of the 1835 Ordnance Commission is J. H. Andrews, A Paper Landscape: The Ordnance Survey in Nineteenth Century Ireland (OUP 1975) [see bibliography, infra]. Andrews’ offered a rebuttal of the use made of it in ‘Notes for a Future Edition of Brian Friel’s Translations’, in Irish Review, 13 (Winter 1992/93), pp.93-106. Friel’s response to same was printed in in Christopher Murray, ed., Brian Friel: Essays, Diaries, Interviews 1964-1999 (2000). Other sources are Colby’s memoir of Londonderry and [P. J.] Dowling’s The Hedge-Schools of Ireland.

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Ordnance Survey (2) - Bibliography: John Harwood Andrews, A Paper Landscape: The Ordnance Survey in Nineteenth-century Ireland (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1975), xxiv, 350pp., [9] leaves of pls., with a rep. edn from Lilliput Press (Dublin 2002). Acknowledged as source in Brian Friel, John Andrews & Kevin Barry, ‘Translations and a Paper Landscape’, in Crane Bag, 7, 2 [Forum Issue] (1983), pp.118-24. See also J. H. Andrews, History in the Ordnance Map: An Introduction for Irish Readers (Dublin: Ordnance Survey Office [Phoenix Park] 1974), [4], 63pp., with facs. + maps [pb.].

Ordnance Survey (3): Friel edited and introduced The Last of the Name by Charles McGlinchey (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1986), in which the work of sappers of the Ordnance Survey in 1835 is mentioned in connection with the theft of their equipment by a ‘lad’ one day when they were working ‘out on the face of Bulaba somewhere about Currachbeag’ and its recovery and restitution by McGlinchey’s father before trouble could be made about it (see p.10f.).

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Landscape of fact: In writing that ‘a civilisation can be imprisoned in linguistic contour which no longer matches the landscape [...] of fact’ in Translations, Friel echoes George Steiner in After Babel: ‘The fixity of a lingusitic contour ... which matches only at certain, ritual, arbitrary points the changing landscape of fact’; op. cit., p.18.) Note also Friel that expressed dismay at the widespread reading of the play as a supposed validation of an idyllic Gaelic order.

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Field Day Company (I): The Field Day Company’s Certificate of incorporation was signed on 12 Aug. 1980 [Friel and Rea] and received by Paddy Woodworth (as Company Secretary, on 22 Aug.) The company was registered at the Orchard Gallery, Derry and the first meeting of directors was held at Friel’s home, Ardmore, Muff, Co. Donegal, 14 Sept. 1980. New directors Heaney, Deane, Hammond and Paulin were proposed and elected to board meeting held at Clarendon, St. Dublin, Mon 3 Aug. 1981; tje First Annual General Meeting, was held at the Gresham Hotel, Dublin, 30 Sept. 1981.(See Ciaran Deane, MA Thesis, UU 2006.)

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Field Day Company (II) - The Manifesto: ‘To forge a Northern-based theatre company which would rehearse and tour the North and then tour throughout the whole of Ireland; secondly to concentrate on smaller venues, where theatre is rarely seen; and finally to perform plays of excellence in a distinctively Irish voice that would be heard throughout the island’. (See ‘Field Day Company to present Chekhov’s Three Sisters, in Derry Journal, 19 June 1985, p.5; quoted in Marilyn Richtarik, Acting Between the Lines: the Field Day Company and Irish Cultural Politics, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), p.109; cited in Loredana Salis, ‘‘“So Greek with Consequence””: Classical Tragedy in Contemporary Irish Drama’, PhD Diss., UUC, 2005.)

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Ballybeg (I): ‘A glance at any six-inch Ordnance map will reveal the strange names that Gaelic imagination contrived and English scribes corrupted. Here are a few which I have come across in Ulster: Ballywillwill, Ballymunterhiggin, Aghayeevoge, Treantaghmucklagh. In all Ireland there are no less than 5,000 townlands beginning with ‘Bally’, forty-five of them named Ballybeg (little town).’ (Estyn Evans, Irish Folk Ways, London: Routledge 1957, p.28).

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Ballybeg (II): ‘Balleybeg’ is the pseudonym given to the border town in Rosemary Harris’s MA research of 1954, called by donnan and MacFarlane ‘the most sensitive early attempt to get behind the public attitudes of Protestants and to a lesser extent Catholics in the early 1950s’ (Hastings Donnan & Graham MacFarlane, ‘Informal Social Attitudes’, in The Background to the Early Conflict, ed. John Darby (Appletree/Syracuse 1983, p.111). The authors note that Harris returned to the ‘paradox of Northern Irish life in a recent comparison between community relations in Ballybeg and ‘Patricksville’ in Southern Eire [sic] (Harris 1979, Bax, 1979), noting that ‘on the surface in the 1950s Ballybeg daily political life showed signs of considerable disunity [while] actual day-to-day life in Patricksville seemed to be replete with obvious tensions, clashes of interest and, indeed, violence; while among the population of Ballybeg there was a playing down of blatant hostility.’ (Donnan & MacFarlane, in Darby, op. cit., p.112.)

See also Edna Longley’s comment: ‘The alienation of Friel’s Ballybeg is utterly different from the post-Nationalist alienation of Tom Murphy’s Bailegangaire.’ (The Living Stream, 1994, p.182, and cf. her citation from Deane’s preface to the Selected Plays [I], supra.)

Ballybeg (III: Rosemary Harris) - see J[ohn]. O. Whyte, In Understanding Northern Ireland (OUP 1991): ‘the classic participant-observation study in Northern Ireland is Rosemary Harris’s examination of a rural area near the border which she labels “Ballybeg”. The research was conducted in the early 1950s, though the results were not upublished in book form till her work Prejudice and Tolerance in Ulster came out in 1972. The area under scrutiny was one where Catholic and Protestant farmers lived intermingled. Based on observation and interview, the study brings out how two communities could live side by side, maintain superficially courteous relations with each other, and still preserve deep suspicions and extraordinary stereotypes. The book si unfailingly lucid and perceptive, and remains one of the best ever published on Northern Ireland. most subsequent participant-observers in Northern Ireland have sought to compare Harris' findings with their own. (p.9.)

Ballybeg (IV): ‘Ballybeg’ is the name of the large housing estate in Waterford, opp. the glass factory, where the 10-yr. old Ian Swan, of Welsh parents moved to Ireland, was bullied and beaten to unconsciousness at school; the principal of St. Saviour’s Mr. Paddy Power disowning responsibility for what happens to boys on the way home if not collected; cause of national dismay, March 1995 (See Irish Times, &c.).

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Abbey Theatre Desmond Rushe states that Brian Friel was made, in 1965, one of 25 shareholders in the Abbey Theatre, and that he has refused to give any of his plays to the Abbey. (Rushe, ‘Drama: Regional and Dublin’, in Éire-Ireland, 6, 3, Autumn 1971, p.132.)

25th Anniversary of Translations, celebrated in “Arts Extra”, BBC Ulster (23 Sept. 2005) [interviews with Rea, Heaney, Fintan O’Toole and Ian Hill); also, “Rattlebag” [Field Day Company 25th Anniversary Special], RTE (23 Sept. 2005), incl. interviews with Stephen Rea and Kevin Whelan].

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Benedict Kiely briefly mentions Patrick Friel, father of Brian Friel, as a distinguished schoolteacher at Culmore, Omagh, before moving to Long Tower, Derry, and then to Donegal (see Drink to the Bird, Methuen 1991, p.138.)

George Steiner: Steiner’s After Babel was a significant influence on Friel. Richard Kearney gives an inventory of Friel’s borrowings from Steiner in an appendix to ‘Language Play: Brian Friel and Ireland's Verbal Theatre’, in Transitions: Narratives of Modern Irish Culture, cited by Helen Lojek in ‘Brian Friel’s Plays and George Steiner’s Linguistics: Translating the Irish’, Contemporary Literature (Spring 1994), pp.83-99; p.85.

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Married blips: Craig Raine, reviewing Christopher Reid, ed., Letters of Ted Hughes, in Times Literary Supplement (23 Nov. 2007), relates: ‘There is an apocryphal story told of Brian Friel that illustrates the central, defining importance of writing to writers. Friel is said to have asked his wife of many years whether she would have loved him had he not been a writer at all. Of course, she reassuringly replied. It is mischievously said that the dramatist was so offended he didn’t speak to her for a month.’ (If apocryphal, why tell?: BS.)

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Confusion: ‘Confusion is not an ignoble condition’ (Sel. Plays, p.446): For incidents to the oft-repeated epigram, vide Chris Morash: ‘It is not the literal past, the “facts of history” that shape us, but images of the past embodied in language.’ (Translations, quoted as epigraph to The Hungry Voice, IAP 1989, Introduction, p.15); also Fintan O’Toole, on the failure of Irish novelists to make the Booker short list: ‘[...] In literature at least, mutual incomprehension is not necessarily an ignoble condition.’ (p.9; as infra.)

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Donal Donnelly, who played Gar Private in the 1964 premiere of Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come!, directed by Hilton Edwards at the Gaiety Theatre, was jointly nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor with his co-star Patrick Bedford (as Gar Public) when the play transferred to Broadway. He later played Teddy in the world premiere of Faith Healer (New York 1979) and playing the brother Jack in the Broadway premiere of Dancing at Lughnasa (1991) produced by Noel Pearson, where his ‘aging, distracted, shuffling Uncle Jack’ provided some of ‘the more indelible images’ of that production according to Frank Rich of the New York Times. He also played Freddie Malins in John Houston’s film production of Joyce’s story "The Dead" and played the corrupt bishop Gilday in The Godfather III. His one-man show on G. B. Shaw (My Astonishing Self) played to acclaim in the late 1990s. In his last appearance he played the lead in in Shaw’s play Don Juan in Hell, in 2006. He lived latterly with his family in Connecticut, commuting to the New York stage, and was noted for his indifference to the star system. He suffered personal tragedy when his 20-year old daughter Maryanne was killed in an equestrian accident in the mid-1980s. He died of cancer in Jan. 2010. A son Jonathan owns the Black Horse at Wrigley’s Field in Chicago. (See obituary by Colin Murphy, in Irish Independent, 9 Jan. 2010; onlinel accessed 18.01.2010.)

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Lyric Theatre: Philadelphia, here I Come! was revived concurrently with Molly Sweeny at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, in Feb.-March 2014 - with Gavin Drea as Gar Private, Peter Coonan as Gar Public, Des McAleer as the father SB O'Donnell, Stella McCusker as Madge, and Susan Davey as Kate Doogan, and Enda Oates as Master Boyle. Niall Cusack played Con Sweeney, Marion O’Dwyer played Aunt Lizzie and Marty Maguire played Ben Burton. Dermott Hickson was Ned and James Murphy was Tom. Andrew Flynn was the director.  

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Anthropometrics: For information on anthrometrics, in conjunction with its treatment in The Home Place, see A. C. Haddon & C. R. Browne, ‘The Ethnography of the Aran Islands’, County Galway, in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (1889-1901), Vol. 2 [1891-93], pp.768-830 - ebing a report of the Anthropometric Commission in Ireland [online at JSTOR; see also under Oscar Wilde, q.v., Notes, infra; accessed 18.05.2010].

National Portrait: a commissioned portrait of Friel by Mick O'Dea unveiled at the National Gallery Portrait Collection, Dublin, 16 July 2010 - with Friel’s son David and grandson Teddy appearing beside him before it in an Irish Times front-page photo (17 July 2010).

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