Brian Friel - Shy Man, Showman • CIFF 2022

Brian Friel: Shy Man, Showman

Saturday, March 5 • 1:00 PM

Playwright Brian Friel stands among the giants of Irish literature. He sits alongside Irish writing greats such as Seamus Heaney, Samuel Beckett and William Butler Yeats. His plays "Faith Healer," "Philadelphia Here I Come!" and "Translations" took Irish theater in completely new directions, while "Dancing at Lughnasa" brought it to totally different audiences. Yet an unwillingness to talk to the press and a withdrawal from public life in the mid-1980s mean that many have not understood how influential he was — and remains. This documentary sets out to show how Friel redefined Irish theater in the second half of the 20th century, with his widow Anne giving intimate access to previously unseen family photos, Friel's writing room, original notebooks and copies of first drafts of plays. Artistic director of the Abbey Theatre Caitríona McLaughlin directs a workshop of actors reading extracts from Friel's plays, highlighting his exploration of his era's concerns around cultural identity, social change and political turmoil, the importance of language and the significance of history on the island of Ireland. Those ideas still resonate today. In a post-Brexit world, Friel's work has never been more relevant.

(Note adapted from BBC One Northern Ireland.

Credits: DIR/SCR Jane Magowan; PROD Marie-Louise Muir. Ireland, 2021, color, 59 min. In English. NOT RATED

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