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By Anthony Roche (auth.)
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Extra resources for Brian Friel: Theatre and Politics
Both Friel’s play and its Francophile flinch away from the depth and degree of Willie Logue’s responsibility for what has happened to his daughter. Kevin delivers the accusation that their father did not let any of his children ‘grow naturally’ (which raises the question of what that might mean for a Catholic growing up in Northern Ireland), but Willie seems more stunned than comprehending in his response. ’34 The play and its central character have veered away from the tragic implications of what has been unfolded and opted for an unsatisfactory comic ending, one which seeks to restore Willie’s initial position as an innocent fantasist.
When Gerald points out that Michelangelo is Italian, Willie merely shrugs off the factual error: ‘French … Italian … let’s not 22 Brian Friel quibble about it. ’ The point for Willie is that all the people of genius he cites are from the European mainland, well beyond the three cities of Derry, Belfast and London between which his three children are divided. In a single act of cultural translation, he feels he can pass over and elide the tangled political divisions making up Ireland and England, or, to put it another way, the Republic, the North and the other island, or, most controversially of all for an Irish nationalist, the British Isles.
In the following scene, Willie attempts to account for her non-appearance. Rather than confronting the fact of his daughter’s seduction and elopement in which his role has been akin to that of a pimp, Willie instead proposes a political reason for the couple’s disappearance: the hard fact of the border between Donegal and Derry. The border is now pressed into service as an extension of his fantasy: Trouble at the border … aye, that’s more like it … he took an unapproved road and the police stopped him … he’s in some police station at the moment and he doesn’t understand what it’s all about … he doesn’t understand the rules and regulations.
Brian Friel: Theatre and Politics by Anthony Roche (auth.)