The Lyric Theatre & The Abbey Theatre's Major Revival of Brian Friel's 'Translations'
Thu Mar 31 2022
The Lyric Theatre and Abbey Theatre present a major new production of Brian Friel’s modern masterpiece Translations. Directed by the Abbey Theatre’s Artistic Director and Donegal native Caitríona McLaughlin, this co production of Translations runs at the Lyric Theatre 23rd April - 29th May and the Abbey Theatre 13th June - 13th August.
It’s August 1833. The pupils have gathered in a hedge-school in the townland of Baile Beag/Ballybeg. This Irish-speaking community in Donegal has become the unlikely focal point for a changing world. Progress is coming. Tensions are growing. There are plans for a new English-speaking national school and a group of Royal Engineers have arrived to map the area.
Friel’s three act play about language and (mis)communication centres around a rural town where language myth and history thrive within a small north Donegal community. It finds a new potency in a time where Brexit has thrown current Anglo-Irish relations into sharp relief, redrawing old boundaries, and opening up old wounds. Translationsexplores the idea that real communication is not about language, it is about understanding and a commitment to engage fully in what makes us different from each other.
The cast are Brian Doherty (Hugh), Zara Devlin (Maire), Marty Rea (Manus), Holly Hannaway (Bridget), Leonard Buckley (Owen), Suzie Seweify (Sarah), Ronan Leahy (Jimmy Jack), Andy Doherty (Doalty), Howard Teale (Captain Lancey) and Aidan Moriarty (Lieutenant Yolland).
The Lyric Theatre is supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funding and Belfast City Council.
Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer Lyric Theatre, said: "Brian Friel created unforgettable and vivid characters, and his work transcends the Irish cultural landscape. Brian had a long and warm relationship with the Lyric Theatre over the decades. In recent history we produced Molly Sweeney (2014), Dancing at Lughnasa (2015) and Lovers (2018), and we are delighted to continue this journey with our partners, the Abbey Theatre. His presence, his kindness and his work will always live in this playhouse."
Director of Translations and Artistic Director the Abbey Theatre, Caitríona McLaughlin commented:
“My Great Grandfather, Charles MacConigley, was ‘the master’ of a new schoolhouse in 1905, in Fanad, County Donegal. His son, my grandfather, would quote Latin and Greek and spoke Irish. I grew up myself amongst the placenames and politics at the centre of this story, surrounded by Brigids, Doaltys and Jimmy Jacks. I love the play, its world and language and of course, it could not be more pertinent today, not only in the context of Brexit, but also because we are once more in a moment of change and possibility, a time when our language and how we communicate is central to who we are, who we will become and the kind of society we want to live in.”
Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added: “The co-productions by the Lyric and the Abbey are always a highlight of the theatre calendar, and Friel’s multi-layered 1980 masterpiece about the relationship between language, identity, power and culture, remains as topical and as thought-provoking today as ever. The Arts Council is proud to be the Lyric’s principal funder, supporting outstanding productions at an outstanding theatre.”