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Brian Friel

(b. 1929)


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(1929– ),

Irish playwright, born Omagh, Co. Tyrone. The suspicious, often despairing sensibility of Brian Friel's plays may be traced to the experience of growing up as a Catholic outsider in Protestant‐dominated Northern Ireland. His great theme is the gulf between private experience and the public world. Friel began as a short story writer and retains a strong interest in monologue and direct narration, evident in such plays as Faith Healer (1979) and Molly Sweeney (1994). His first international success, Philadelphia, Here I Come! (1964), in which different actors play the main character's public and private selves, established both his reputation and his central concerns. Typically, as in Translations (1980) and Dancing at Lughnasa (1990), the world on stage is about to implode, a way of seeing that gives substance to his identification as an Irish Chekhov. Three short plays based on Chekhov's works, performed in 2001 and 2002, were published as Three Plays After (2002).

Subjects: Literature.


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