Synopses & Reviews
Brian Friel is widely recognized as one of the greatest contemporary dramatists writing in the English language. This is the first book-length study to draw on the Brian Friel Papers in the National Library of Ireland: the numerous drafts and revisions of the plays, the author's notes, correspondence, etc. These help to provide a deeper awareness of the radical, experimental nature of Friel's dramaturgy and a more nuanced understanding of the plays' politics in relation to both Northern Ireland and the Republic. The book covers the entire span of Friel's career and its twenty-four original plays, from the late 1950s to the present. It addresses such central topics as: Friel and the role of the director; negotiations between the past and the present; the operation of fantasy; the politics of space; and the interplay of memory and history. The book deepens and extends our understanding of Friel's achievement and will be an invaluable guide to students of theatre and drama, cultural and Irish studies.
'Tony Roche has contributed so much to contemporary understanding of Irish drama and theatre, and this volume adds substantially to these contributions. For scholars of Irish letters, reading Brian Friel: Theatre and Politics will become both an immense pleasure and a necessity.'
- Stephen Watt, Professor of English and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, Indiana University, USA
'Rare among contemporary academics, Roche's writing is as readable as it is incisive...For years to come, this remarkable study by Anthony Roche will be a must for any producer, director, dramaturg, teacher or lover of Irish theater who would truly understand and honor Friel's genius.' - James W. Flannery, Irish America
'Anthony Roche has impeccable credentials as a critic of contemporary Irish theatre and of Brian Friel's work in particular… This is a book crammed with information, much of it new and intriguing.' - Christina Hunt Mahoney, Irish Times
'Roche's frequent and skillful analysis of direction, casting and setting will be refreshing reading for many, and in this respect the book is nothing less than groundbreaking… this is a carefully argued, insightful, and theoretically informed book…' - Scott Boltwood, Irish University Review
Friel is recognised as Ireland's leading playwright and due to the ability of plays like Translations and Dancing at Lughnasa to translate into other cultures he has made a major impact on world theatre. This study draws on the Friel Archive to deepen our understanding of how his plays were developed.
About the Author
ANTHONY ROCHE was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. He holds degrees from Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of California, and is Associate Professor in the School of English, Drama and Film at University College Dublin. His publications include The Cambridge Companion to Brian Friel (2006) and Contemporary Irish Drama (second edition 2009).
Table of Contents
Escaping Containment: The Early Plays
Friel and the Director: Tyrone Guthrie and Hilton Edwards
Fantasy in Friel
Brian Friel and Contemporary British Drama: The Missing Dimension
The Politics of Space: Friel's Drama of the 1970s
Translations: 'An Inquiry into the Disappearance of Lt George Yolland'
Memory and History
Negotiating the Present