It has delighted audiences in steely Sheffield for weeks already, and now this joint production of a well-loved play is making its way down to Kingston.
Brian Friel’s Translations, set in rural 19th century Ireland, is a story about love complicated by language.
Local farm-girl Máire is torn between the affections of a local man and a British soldier, as the British Army arrives to their quiet village in Donegal to translate Gaelic place names into the King’s English.
Niall Buggy, who plays Hugh, an alcoholic linguist and school master, says: “What the British are trying to do is change the place names, to change them to English names.
“I think that one of the things about place names is that it has this problem with respect. It’s asking for trouble.”
The play, completed in 1980, has since been performed around the world, from its initial run in Ireland, to New York and Minsk.
Buggy adds: “I would have to say it is one of the greatest plays ever written.
“I feel privileged as an actor. It is great to be working with these young actors and wonderful young director James Grieve. He just lets this play speak for itself.
“There are some fantastic actors in this production. These are people I learn from.
“This is my second time doing this play. It has been seven years since I performed at Broadway. It was a joy to do. It was particularly wonderful for me to do again in England.
“Friel has in this play created some extraordinary theatrical coup d’etats.”
Though the play’s tension is created as a result of the British campaign, love and language are the main focus.
Yolland, Máire’s British suitor, cannot speak her language.
Buggy says: “That love is one of the greatest love scenes ever written. The language of love is also the language of living. It is a play about love, not about politics.”
Translations; Rose Theatre, High Street, Kingston; April 22 – May 3; various prices; visit rosetheatrekingston.org or call 08444 821556.
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