The Brian Friel Papers

Has the play its own reality?

In this note dated 28 May 1989, Brian Friel interrogates the reality of his own play, Dancing at Lughnasa (1990), in relation to its narrator. Significantly, Friel sees the presence of a narrator as necessary if there are to be any non-naturalistic dances in the play.

From MS 37,104/1, National Library of Ireland; copyright Brian Friel Estate, reproduced by permission.


28 May 1989.

If there is no narrator there can be no highly polished dream dances – and Fr. Jack can’t parade in his splendid white officer’s uniform. There can be other – simpler – spontaneous dances.

But: –  Has the play its own reality?

Or has it existence only in the head of the narrator?

29 May ’89.

Touch on some kind of special relationship between Christina + Fr. Jack.

What does she want to say to him that he isn’t capable of understanding?

What is she asking of him? Forgiveness?

In this dance, Rose, always in welligntons, will express herself with astonishing style and grace and eloquence.

Don't anticipate the ending Creative encounters with the Brian Friel Papers

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Presented in partnership with the National Library of Ireland