By Mary Luckhurst, Nadine Holdsworth
Focusing on significant and rising playwrights, associations, and numerous theatre practices this Concise significant other examines the main matters in British and Irish theatre when you consider that 1979. Written by means of best overseas students within the box, this assortment deals new methods of wondering the social, political, and cultural contexts during which particular facets of British and Irish theatre have emerged and explores the connection among those contexts and the works produced. It investigates why specific concerns and practices have emerged as major within the theatre of this period.
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Extra info for A Concise Companion to Contemporary British and Irish Drama (Concise Companions to Literature and Culture)
To remember everything may mean remaining stuck in the past, longing to restore an original purity that may never have existed and that in any case is ‘dead and gone’. Yet Owen leaves the stage in search of the Donnelly twins and does not hear or heed Hugh’s warning. He also fails to hear Hugh’s lengthy reminiscence about his own ﬂirtation with violent resistance, when he and Jimmy Jack left their homes to join the 1798 Wolfe Tone rebellion, whose goal was to secure independence for Ireland but which ended in disastrous defeat.
Thus, Friel peppers his play with subtle reminders of its historical horizons. Maire, whom Manus hopes to marry, is exasperated by his plan to follow in his father’s footsteps (‘Teach classics to the cows? 31 Claire Gleitman Agh’ ) and declares her own intention to learn English to facilitate her emigration to America. The hedge-school curriculum is irrelevant to the material concerns with which Maire must contend, and she invokes the words of the ‘Liberator’, Daniel O’Connell – who agitated on behalf of Catholic emancipation – to bolster her claim that she requires English to survive in a changing world: ‘The old language is a barrier to modern progress’ (25).
This is not to suggest, of course, that Translations condones the British action. The act of map-making was economically as well as imperialistically motivated; the British hoped to impose taxes on the Irish more easily while also extinguishing their culture, as Friel makes evident early in the play when Lancey connects the cartographic exercise with taxation (though Owen glosses over the implications of Lancey’s words with his deft ‘translation’ ). The English are desecrators when they rob Ireland of its names, and their action is ‘an eviction of sorts’ (43) that results in the destruction of an ancient way of life.