Past Productions‎ > ‎2022 Season‎ > ‎

Translations

By Brian Friel
Directed by Mary Coffey

Performances:  4-14 May 2022

Stagecraft is proud to present Brian Friel’s heart-warming and wrenching play of miscommunication and understanding across the divides of language, culture and politics. A familiar story of the uneasy relationship between those who make the new names and those who only use the old.


About the Play

Translations is an exploration of a language, myth and identity under threat from colonisation.
This play is lyrical, political, thought-provoking, and also has some laugh out loud moments. Written in
1980 but set in 1833, Translations addresses a wide range of issues, stretching from language and
communication to Irish history and cultural imperialism. Friel said that his play "should have been
written in Irish" but, despite this fact, he carefully crafted the verbal action in English, bringing the
political questions of the play into focus

The Plot

Set in a hedge-school in Baile Beag (Ballybeg) in Donegal in 1833, on the eve of the Irish Famine,
the drama unfolds as a detachment of Royal Engineers arrive in the town to make the first
ordinance survey of Ireland. For the purpose of cartography the local Gaelic place names are to
be recorded and rendered into English. This event, along with the impending introduction of a
national school’s system which will provide education exclusively through the English language,
provides the catalyst to explore the effects of this shift from an indigenous, Irish-speaking culture,
to an imposed English-speaking culture on the lives of a group of characters.
Language and its failure to accommodate experience preoccupy all the characters. There is
Yolland, the young English officer who falls in love with both the town and a local girl, Máire. He is
trying to learn Irish so he can woo her. Máire, herself, is learning English so she can escape
poverty and emigrate to America. There is Sarah, a mute girl just trying to speak her own name.
Hugh is the hedge-school master and teaches Latin and Greek through Irish. And then there is
Owen, the hedge-master’s son who left for Dublin and has returned to act as a translator for the
Royal Engineers.

Cast:

Lancey      Chris O'Grady
Maire Aine Gallagher
Owen Jonathan Beresford
Bridget Ruby Carter
Sarah Helen Mackenzie
Manus Finnian Nacey
Doalty Kevin Orlando
Hugh Malcolm Gillett
Jimmy Marty Pilott
Yolland Rhaz Solomon 

Crew:

Director: Mary Coffey
Production Manager: Sam Perry
Assistant PM: Stanford Reynolds
Stage Manager: Rob Scott
Sound Designer: Simon Boyes
Lighting Design Mentor: Mike Slater
Lighting Designer: Sarah Arndt
Lighting Operator: Sarah Arndt
Sound Operator  
Prompt: Julie Anne Garnons-Williams
Costume Supervisor: Meredith Dooley
Costume Assist: Eloise Fogg
Publicity Manager: Stanford Reynolds
Set Design: Amy Whiterod
Set Build Coordinator: Simon Boyes
Props/Set dressing: Sam Perry
FOH Manager: David Cox