Plays by Brian Friel

Afterplay

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

1920s Moscow, a small run-down café. Uncle Vanya's niece, Sonya Serebriakova, now in her forties, is the only customer. Until the arrival of Andrey Prozorov, the put-upon brother from Three Sisters.

Afterplay revisits the lives of two characters from Anton Chekhov's plays. It was first produced, with The Bear (also after Chekhov), at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in March 2002.

Aristocrats

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

When I think of Ballybeg Hall it's always like this: the sun shining; the doors and windows all open; the place filled with music.

A family gathers for a wedding at the ancestral home in County Donegal, its crumbling edifice testimony to an opulent way of life that's all but finished. As the accusations and demands of their dying father ring out, his wayward, volatile offspring find consolation in reinventing wild and bohemian stories of the big house in its heyday.

Aristocrats premiered at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in March 1979.

The Bear (after Chekhov)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Elena Popova, a young and attractive widow, has immersed herself in the role of mourning for her once philandering late husband. Luka, her frail and ancient man-servant, tries in vain to snap her out of it. Then Smirnov barges in.

The Bear (after Chekhov) was first produced, with Afterplay, at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in March 2002.

Dancing at Lughnasa

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

It is 1936 and harvest time in County Donegal. In a house just outside the village of Ballybeg live the five Mundy sisters, barely making ends meet, their ages ranging from twenty-six up to forty. The two male members of the household are brother Jack, a missionary priest, repatriated from Africa by his superiors after 25 years, and the seven-year-old child of the youngest sister. In depicting two days in the life of this menage, Brian Friel evokes not simply the interior landscape of a group of human beings trapped in their domestic situation, but the wider landscape, interior and exterior, Christian and pagan, of which they are a part.

Faith Healer

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

An acknowledged masterpieces, Faith Healer weaves together the stories of a travelling healer, his wife and his manager. From their different versions of the healer's performances and a terrible event at the centre of the drama, Friel creates a powerful and haunting work of art.

Faith Healer was first produced at the Longacre Theatre, New York, in April 1979.

Fathers and Sons

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Set in rural Russia of the mid-nineteenth century. A brilliant, anarchic young medical student, Bazarov, arrives at the provincial family villa of his best friend, Arkady, for the summer vacation. He wants to despise the family for their imperturbable complacency, and bourgeois effeteness. But he is tormented by conflicting emotions, and takes desperate action, with tragic consequences.

Fathers and Sons opened at the Lyttelton Theatre, South Bank, London, in July 1987.

audio Fathers and Sons

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The epic sweep of Turgenev’s 19th century literary masterpiece is brought to the stage by one of Ireland’s greatest living dramatists. Fathers and Sons captures the ongoing clash of generations and philosophies. Set in a Russian country estate, Friel’s powerful and resonant adaptation examines the inevitable conflict between the urgency of youth and the entrenchment of age. An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring: James Callis as Bazarov Harry Hamlin as Pavel Nicholas Hormann as Prokofyich/Timofeich Jane Kaczmarek as Arina/Princess Olga Alfred Molina as Vassily/Nikolai Molly C. Quinn as Katya John Sloan as Arkady Devon Sorvari as Fenichka Daniel David Stewart as Piotr Jocelyn Towne as Dunyahsa Joanne Whalley as Anna Original music performed by Anna Lyse Erikson on the cello, Nicholas Hormann and Stephen Van Dorn on the piano, and Paul Baird on the accordian. Directed by Martin Jarvis. Recorded in Los Angeles before a live audience at The James Bridges Theater, UCLA in March of 2016. Featuring: James Callis, Harry Hamlin, Nicholas Hormann, Jane Kaczmarek, Alfred Molina, Molly C. Quinn, John Sloan, Devon Sorvari, Daniel Stewart, Jocelyn Towne, Joanne Whalley.

The Freedom of the City

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

In the aftermath of an unauthorised civil rights march in Derry, three demonstrators take refuge in the mayor's parlour of the town hall. As rumours spread that their presence is an occupation, these ordinary people find themselves besieged by British soldiers. The play charts the fatal consequences and the tribunal that follows.

Touching on the then recent events of 'Bloody Sunday', The Freedom of the City was first performed at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in February 1973. A production opened at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in the same month.

The Home Place

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

The year is 1878. The widowed Christopher Gore, his son David and their housekeeper Margaret, the woman with whom they are both in love, live at The Lodge in Ballybeg. But in this era of unrest at the dawn of Home Rule, their seemingly serene life is threatened by the arrival of Christopher’s English cousin, who unwittingly ignites deep animosity among the villagers of Ballybeg.

The Home Place premiered at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in February 2005.

Living Quarters

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Drawing on the Greek myth of Hippolytus, Living Quarters concerns an Irish army officer who becomes a national hero, and explores the effects this has on his relationship with his family.

Living Quarters premiered at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in March 1977.

Brian Friel was born in County Tyrone in 1929. He died in County Donegal on 2 October 2015.