Wednesday, January 10, 2007
No living playwright can touch Brian Friel on a linguistic level. I usually hate it when playwrights are referred to as "poets," but for Friel, it seems to be an apt moniker. Translations, his 1981 work about Anglicizing an Irish speaking county in 1833, overflows with beautiful prose. Garry Hynes has staged the play for the Manhattan Theatre Club (co-produced by the McCarter Theatre) at the Biltmore in a lyrical and lush production that truly captures the essence of the piece's beauty. At the top of Act Two, the gallant British Lieutenant (Chandler Williams) tells his Irish paramour (the radiant Susan Lynch) to, "Say anything at all. I love the sound of your voice." Likewise of Friel: It doesn't matter what he says; what matters is the captivating way he says it.