the notion of something forbidden
In this note towards Dancing at Lughnasa (1990), Friel suggests that the ‘core’ of the play might be the expression of the uncelebrated or taboo through the medium of dance. Fr. Jack, the Mundy sisters’ brother who has been sent home from Uganda having embraced local practices of worship, plays the role of a catalyst in this respect.
From MS 37,104/1, National Library of Ireland; copyright Brian Friel Estate, reproduced by permission.
Gerry the casual Republican, appeases his nationalistic tribal Gods, too.
Fr. Jack – perhaps in his one monologue? – will tell of his relationship with his people, his house boy. And this must mirror/echo the relationships in the house. So that when Fr. Jack + Father + Rose dance at the end all these will have come together in a comprehensive sympathy and mutual support and – importantly – in revelation. This (above) must be punctuated by Fr. Jack’s story: –
his houseboy always doing his God-appeasing dance/shuffle.
Fr. Jack forbidding it. But watching from a distance
now Fr. Jack tutoring Father + Rose in it
[30 May. Is this vague notion above somehow close to the core of the play? — the notion of something forbidden, or at least something not publicly blessed, being expressed + celebrated in dance.
[Was Fr. Jack in some way reprimanded by his Ugandan superiors? Was he sent home in his incipient dotage – the excuse being his malaria? – because HE WAS REVERTING TO NATIVE PRACTISES? – beginning to go to seed?
His intellectual simplicity – naivety is patent. For him, a colonial instrument of both church + state, there would be no conflict in honouring the District Commission and doing the Rain (?) Dance. Would Father try to educate him?) Top
The sacred core of the play.
This note was written by Brian Friel during the composition process for Dancing at Lughnasa (1990). Friel often referred to what he called the ‘core’ of a given play, which, once established, would be a leading factor in determining the play’s form.
What is vaguely forbidden?
In this note towards Dancing at Lughnasa (1990) dated 30 May 1989, Friel asks himself whether dance might be a means of expressing as-yet unidentified taboos.
Jessie Keenan notes, 2
In this extract from Jessie Keenan’s project notes, Jessie is considering ideas that emerged from group discussions.