Saturday, March 03, 2007


I went last night to see the play Translations written by Brian Friel. The play takes place in 1833 and concerns the events that transpire involving a hedge-school in Baile Beag, Ireland. A detachment of [English speaking] British soldiers/cartographers are sent to Ireland in order to create a new and up-to-date map while, in the process, standardizing the various names (all in Irish) by putting them into English. The creative tension is found in the love awakened between an Irish girl [Gaelic speaking] and a young Lieutenant named George [English speaking].

At the heart of the play, in a sense, is the radical insufficiency of language to communicate the reality we inhabit. In a particularly poignant scene, the two young lovers strain to communicate with one another, resorting to pantomime and gestures and loud words to break past the language barrier. But it is the in the embrace of the other, in the surrender to the gaze that defies language, that the reality of their love for one another - a love that transcends all words - is able to speak.

All in all - a good show. Can't say I liked the ending, and it did tend to drag a bit at parts. But most enjoyable nonetheless.

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Let's update on what's going on in Ryan land. I'm now settled on being in Chicago this summer where I will study German with April Wilson. April is something of a legendary teacher who has long worked with student at the University of Chicago's Divinity School. She holds classes out of her condo (with her two cats) and I'm very excited to be able to work with her this summer.

Next Friday I will be in Chicago for a Jesuit Philosophy Conference and then I'll have a few days of relaxation in the Windy City. I will return to NYC on Thursday in order to work on a paper and attend a fund-raiser at one of our retreat houses on St. Patrick's Day.

So that's about it. I'm hoping to record a few more YouTube videos and post the notes later today. I'm thinking of doing three supplemental videos to Week 2 in order to expand the repertoire of beginners. More thought needs to take place on this (in the next few hours) so stay tuned!

1 comment:

Felix Randal said...

Translations - a really great play. One of the few plays that actually made me think about theology!