Written Performance Concept Play: Translations As a director, I want to emphasise the concept of a forbidden romance which is the essential theme of the play. So in my duologue, it was important to remember my directorial intentions throughout in order for the audience to understand the complexity of the situation. ‘Translations’ was written by the Irish playwright Brian Friel in 1980, however, it is set in the 19th century in it fictional town on Baile Beag.
Brian Friel stated that ‘Translations’ is “a play about language and only about language” but it deals with a wide range of issues, stretching from language and communication to cultural imperialism. He based it in Ireland due to the fluidity of the Irish language and to make it harder for literal translation, as David Grant explains “The very nature of translation is so delicate, so unpredictable, that the only practical solution was to explore ideas in practice on the rehearsal room floor. Historical elements relevant to inform my embodiment of role would be the English’s role in taking over Ireland in the 1930’s, as most Irish were reduced to near poverty whereas the English had masses of wealth. Also, they planned to take everything of Irish importance away, such as lessons in school only being taught in English when over half of the population spoke Gaelic. To demonstrate the fact we are in a field, not many props are used except a bale of hay we use for me to sit on and state “the grass must be wet, my feet are soaking. We decided to set it in a field as it has to be somewhere away from civilisation where no one will catch them. We are also using and Irish folk music track at the start to set the scene for the audience and give them a sense that they are in agricultural Ireland. In order to further shape and influence my character, I undertook some drama exercises to develop a deeper understanding of my character. An example would be non-verbal communication exercises where we would run through the scene once; they go through it only with the use of facial expression, proxemics and gestures.
This helped me develop a joyful, but at times confused and frustrated facial expressions, for example on the line “What-What? ” after Yolland states “Yes, I know your Marie, of course I know your Marie, I mean I have been watching you night and day for the past…” even though I don’t understand what he is saying, I should be able to recognize he is complimenting or saying something beautiful though facial expressions and gestures.
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Also to be more aware of my proxemics and levels so I don’t look superior or upright in any way and my gestures to be soft and calming, not rigid and stiff. Hot seating also helped me as we got an in depth analysis of my character and a deeper understanding of what their objectives may be is several different parts of the play. An example of this would be to ask Marie the question “How did you feel when you met George for the first time? ” This helped me with my tone and voice to my subtle, sweet and lyrical.
We also have to portray the hesitance between Yolland and Marie as there love isn’t only frowned upon in society because there statuses in society are at two totally different ends of the spectrum, but the love triangle between Manus, Yolland and Marie is a very problematic one. This further adds pressure to the situation and I need to be able to portray this awkwardness and lack of understanding for the audience to be able to fully connect with us as people. I also want the audience to feel empathy for our circumstances.
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