By Anthony Roche (auth.)
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Additional resources for Brian Friel: Theatre and Politics
He never directed a play by Brian Friel (the reasons for which will be explored), but Guthrie played a crucial mentoring role in the life of the young aspiring Irish playwright that will be examined by way of unpacking some of the complications and contradictions in Friel’s view of directors and directing. In the first half of 1963 Friel spent a number of months in the United States as the guest of Sir Tyrone Guthrie at the theatre Guthrie had just founded (and which bore his name) in Minneapolis in the American Midwest.
49 And so, as it turned out, was Brian Friel as he took on the vocation of fulltime playwright. His career as a dramatist is marked by his refusal to rest content with what he has achieved, but rather ‘to start again, and then to start again’, to set off in strikingly new directions, never afraid to court failure. 51 In what he has endured in five years of isolation, the missionary priest of The Blind Mice has come up against The Early Plays 31 the limitations of the language of conventional prayer, whether in Latin or in English, and in his spiritual isolation has sought and found refuge in words and rituals that more properly belong to the world of play, whether of children or of the theatre.
In writing his ‘Note’ on ‘Amateurs’ Friel has embraced the notion of progress in the theatre by contrasting the necessary role of the energies of the amateur actors in the founding of the Irish National Theatre in 1904 with an ever-increasing and necessary professionalization of actors in the present. Friel is not willing to concede the necessity of the director’s role nor its centrality to the creative process of making theatre. They are convenient for taking necessary tasks from the other people involved: actors, producers, etc.
Brian Friel: Theatre and Politics by Anthony Roche (auth.)