The Butt Drama Circle (BDC) opened their production of Brian Friel’s Translations in Glenties last week, a little more than four months after the death of the acclaimed playwright.
Directed by JC Bonar, Translations will run for four nights from next Wednesday, Feb. 24th, at the Balor Theatre in Ballybofey, before touring the regional heats of the All-Ireland Amateur Drama Festival.
As a mark of respect, the play opened in Glenties, the origin of Friel’s Ballybeg and his final resting place.
Translations was the first production of the legendary Field Day Theatre Company founded by Friel and Stephen Rea. Set in hedge school in Ballybeg in 1833, Translations traces the impact a department of British Army Royal Engineers has on the Irish-speaking community there. Charting the countryside and anglicising native Irish place names, the engineers are perceived as harmless, even friendly, and are assisted by Owen (Shaun Byrne), son of the local schoolmaster.
An engineer, Lt Yolland (Fionn Robinson), becomes captivated by Irish culture and local girl Máire (Cathleen Bradley), who is also the object of the affections of Manus (Pauric Gallagher). When Yolland disappears, the colonial character of the engineers’ actions becomes clear as they rampage across Ballybeg, threatening to shoot livestock, evict villagers and destroy homes if he is not found. As events unfold, everyone will have cause to examine their culture, their roots and their heart.
“I made the decision to stage the play last March and set my sights on doing it this year,” JC, the director, said. “When we decided to stage the play there was no word that Brian Friel was even sick. We were granted the rights to do Translations before his death. It was almost fate.”
Also cast are Marina Marcinetova as Sarah, Jim Holohan as Jimmy Jack, Pauric Duffy as Doalty, Esther McCorkill as Bridget, Jim Sweeney as Hugh and Gerry Doherty as Lancey.
Translations runs Feb. 24th to Feb. 27th at 8pm. Information at the Balor, 07491 31840 or www.balorartscentre.com.