Brian Friel and the Field Day Theatre Company : a marriage of artistic vision and cultural activism

Farquharson, Danine Elizabeth (1993) Brian Friel and the Field Day Theatre Company : a marriage of artistic vision and cultural activism. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the work of Irish playwright Brian Friel during the period in which he wrote plays specifically for the Field Day Theatre Company, a cultural enterprise he founded with actor Stephen Rea in 1980. Because Field Day is equally active in publishing political pamphlets as it is in producing plays, I use the texts of the fifteen pamphlets (outlined in Appendix A) as the main critical resource for analyzing Friel's dramatic efforts during the 1980's in order to establish a dialogue between the theatrical stage and the political arena. With the production of Dancing at Lughnasa in 1990 by the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, it becomes obvious that this dialogue has changed, if not ended, and the basic conclusion I have drawn is that although the decade spent with the Field Day Theatre Company provided Brian Friel with the material and space for the creation of his finest dramatic efforts to date, that era of artistic and cultural/political activism is over and Friel has moved on to a new stage in his career. -- Chapter One focuses on Translations, produced as the inauguration of the Field Day Theatre Company in 1980, and the first set of pamphlets published in the volume Ireland's Field Day. -- Chapter Two continues to examine the early period of Friel's association with Field Day. Although The Communication Cord is in many ways a response to much of the text of Translations, it remains firmly imbedded in the theatre company's cultural/political agenda and is, in my opinion, representative of a theatrical culmination in Friel's career. -- Chapter Three looks at Making Historv (1988), a play more akin to the theoretical pamphlets in the second wave of Field Day publishing than it is to the dramatic brilliance of The Communication Cord. The play marks a significant shift in theatrical technique for Friel and is a sign of what is to come. -- Chapter Four concerns the break-up of the Friel/Field Day association as the two can be seen as taking very different approaches to their previously shared goals. The final set of Field Day pamphlets are as fundamentally different from the first six in their theoretical and practical approach to the Irish situation, as Dancing at Lughnasa differs from Translations in both style and content. -- Appendix A is a complete list of the Field Day pamphlets, with bibliographic references.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7100
Item ID: 7100
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 88-92.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1993
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Friel, Brian--Criticism and interpretation; Field Day Theatre Company; Field Day pamphlet

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