"We must learn those new names....We must learn where we live. We must learn to make them our own. We must make them our new home."
Set in Donegal in 1833, Translations tells the story of a rural Irish community's response to the arrival of Royal Engineers sent to map the area and 'standardise' the local placenames. This is a play of contrasts: the Irish language and English; divided loyalties; classical education against practical education; the English as an army and the English as individuals. Where other plays might give simple answers, Translations presents its characters with choices. Few plays feel quite so complete - it has a wonderful mix of comedy, romance, history and cleverness. The ending is a little abrupt, but suits the play well.
This production in the Abbey Theatre makes good use of Brian Friel's script. The pace is just right, the acting is good, and the set supports the play well without ever being distracting.
This is magnificent production of a superb play. Highly recommended.
Translations continues in the Abbey until Saturday 13th August, from Monday to Saturday at 7:30 pm and with Saturday matinees at 2 pm. Tickets cost from €13 to €40.
Photo courtesy of the Abbey Theatre.