By Margaret Llewellyn-Jones
Exploring the works of Brian Friel, Frank McGuinness, Tom Murphy, and Thomas Kilroy, the writer offers an advent at the ancient context of Irish tradition, with specific awareness being paid to the works played within the Nineteen Nineties.
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Dancing as if language no longer existed because words were no longer necessary … (1990, p. 71) This slippery memory can be set against the bleakness of post-colonial economics, which has destroyed the family, and is present in the final tableau through the subverted signs of imperialism and the kite’s grotesque grinning face. The third category of plays explores ways in which the slipperiness of spoken language may be linked with the body, but in an urban setting which prompts different strategies from those provoked by the rural landscape.
The double-edged sword provided by knowledge of English is epitomised in Owen’s changing attitude. , p. 406), but as his relationship with Yolland develops, a more equitable discussion of how place names may be adequately adapted emerges. Partly through Yolland’s enthusiasm, and Hugh’s significant attitude; ‘It can happen that a civilisation can be imprisoned in a linguistic contour that not longer matches the language of … fact’ (p. 419), Owen realises something more sinister than map-making is involved.
71–2). Keeney’s last version, which accompanies his rather solemn reburial of Leif, treats him like a contemporary friend (p. 83). The prisoners’ final, speedy and contradictory litany of qualities starts with the idea of Leif as harmless, going on to his putative dubious relations, finally suggesting he was a bad seed, whose death can bear all their bad luck. Thus Leif, as scapegoat, is both everyone and no one. The mystery of his corpse provokes multiple answers; history can only be fractured, it is read according to different reader’s ‘take’ on it.
Contemporary Irish Drama & Cultural Identity by Margaret Llewellyn-Jones