English 24

Freshman Seminar: Contemporary Irish Theater: The Plays of Brian Friel

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Fall 2007 Tracy, Robert
Tracy, Robert
M 3-5 Room L20 Unit II

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Friel, B.: Selected Plays of Brian Friel


Brian Friel (b. 1928) is the most prominent playwright of the contemporary Irish theater, best known for Translations and Dancing at Lughnasa. In a series of innovative plays, he has examined some of the stories the Irish tell themselves about their past and present. He uses the theater to examine issues of role-playing, story-telling, and self-delusion, that is, the nature of theatricality. While he explores Ireland's national and personal myths, Friel is saying something about us all and the parts we cast ourselves in when rehearsing our own dramas. This is a seminar, not a lecture course, so I will expect you all to contribute to discussions. Students will also be paired to lead discussions. I'm hoping for students who like literature and are interested in thinking about drama not just as texts but also as performance. We will sometimes read scenes to suggest how different voices affect perception of what is happening. Brien Friel is a playwright from the North of Ireland, so that his work often reflects certain tensions from that society, so I'm hoping for students who will discuss social and moral issues facing the dramatic characters.

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