Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Translations
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Translations

Translations is a play by the Irish playwright Brian Friel. It is set in Baile Beag, a small village at the heart of 19th Century agricultural Ireland. The play deals with a wide range of issues, stretching from language and communication to cultural imperialism. Despite the 1833 setting, there are obvious parallels between Baile Beag and today's world.

Warning: Plot details follow.

The quiet community of Baile Beag, where many see no world outside the village, experiences a number of tests and changes as the English army arrives to make a detailed map of the area. The key conflicts all revolve around language, culture, and knowledge. The action of the play takes place entirely in the house of the local schoolmaster, where conversations about Greek goddesses are as commonplace as those about the potato crop, and where many languages (ancient and modern) may be heard. The schoolmaster's eldest son is tasked with translating local placenames into English so that they may appear on the soon-to-be-official map in English, a fact which angers his family (and himself). The English lieutenant (Lt. Yolland) he works with, however, becomes captivated by the local names and dialects, and becomes quickly ambivalent about his task. Complicating matters is a love triangle between the progressive lieutenant, the schoolmaster's youngest son (Manus), and a local woman named Maire, which highlights the roles language plays in love.