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LOGO: Queen's University Belfast

Friel Reimagined


Gar Public and Gar Private sit on a hilltop observing a plane flying overhead
About the Plays
Introducing Philadelphia, Here I Come! (1964)

The central dramatic device of Philadelphia, with two actors playing the protagonist on stage – of whom only Public is seen and heard by the other characters in the play – gives Friel a special freedom to reflect on the dilemmas of migration. Find out more about Philadelphia, Here I Come! with specially commissioned illustrations by Fuchsia MacAree.

The Plays: 'Philadelphia, Here I Come!' (1964)
Illustrated map of Derry
About the Plays
Introducing The Freedom of the City (1973)

The fragmented feeling of the play, akin to a breaking news bulletin, would have been only too familiar for audiences at the time. The events of the day begin to become clearer as Friel contextualises them from numerous angles, to reveal how such a perilous situation could have emerged from the simple, instinctive decision to run through a side door for cover. Find out more about The Freedom of the City, with specially commissioned illustrations by Lydia Hughes.

The Plays: 'The Freedom of the City' (1973)
Illustration of a van driving in a remote coastal area
About the Plays
Introducing Faith Healer (1979)

Frank grapples with the meaning of his life in ways he could never reveal to his usual audience of downtrodden punters; Grace reveals a personal memory of her time in the Highlands that has left an indelible mark on her ever since. Find out more about Faith Healer, with specially commissioned illustrations by Ashwin Chacko.

The Plays: 'Faith Healer' (1979)
About the Plays
Introducing Translations (1980)

Friel found a rich dramatic seam in a moment of historical transformation. Thirty years after the Act of Union and still a decade before the Great Famine, cartographers and orthographers were dispatched with the Royal Fusiliers to travel the breadth of Ireland, charged with making detailed maps and anglicising placenames. Find out more about Translations, with specially commissioned illustrations by Dermot Flynn.

The Plays: 'Translations' (1980)
About the Plays
Introducing Dancing at Lughnasa (1990)

Friel conjures an atmosphere of aching nostalgia in his memory play Dancing at Lughnasa, while also bestowing his characters with vivacious exuberance. Find out more about the play, with specially commissioned illustrations by Ashling Lindsay.

The Plays: 'Dancing at Lughnasa' (1990)