Translations

Thursday, March 17, 2011

As it is St. Patrick's Day I thought I would add a topical post to the blog. One of my favorite plays has to be Translations by Brian Friel written in 1980. I studied it for A levels and haven't forgotten it since. The play is about a rural village in Donegal and its inhabitants who are experiencing a brash intrusion from English officers who are imposing their cartography on the Irish countryside and anglicizing the Gaelic place-names.  


The residents of Baile Beag have little or no experience of the world beyond their village and so the abrupt invasion comes as a shock as they see their landscape and lifestyles changing at a rate that is beyond their control. Being a romantic, the scene I most vividly remember is between Maire and Yolland who fall in love -  being from both Irish and English cultures, they initially struggle to express their feelings. Much like Colin Firth and Lúcia Moniz in Love Actually the intentions of Maire and Yolland are identical and ironically in-sync, yet the words spoken are different. 


I really think this play is wonderful and being a play of course there is tragedy, not just the eradication of a culture, who primarily did not record their history, but also the intimate tragedies that often come to fall upon small communities where grief is magnified within the boundaries of their society.


So folks, I for one will not be celebrating St.Paddy's day by getting squiffy, I will instead curl up with a really good play and let Brian Friel take me back to a time before we imposed our harsh Anglo Saxon words on to such a beautiful language.

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