Theatre Preview: Translations, Edinburgh

Translation. Picture: Comp
Translation. Picture: Comp
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PLAYWRIGHT Brian Friel, actor Stephen Rea, director and actor Adrian Dunbar - some impressive names are associated with Translations, Friel’s ‘classic of modern Irish theatre’, which tours to the King’s next week.

King’s Theatre, Leven Street, today-Saturday, 7.30pm (matinees 2.30pm), £14-£29.50, 0131-529 6000

Directed by Dunbar, Translations tells the story of a small community on the brink of irrevocable change. Set in a ‘hedge school’ in Donegal in 1833, Translations follows the disruption caused by the arrival of British troops and engineers, charged with conducting an ordinance survey intended to map the landscape for military intelligence and standardise the Gaelic place names in the King’s English.

At the centre of the action is Owen, brother to aspiring teacher Manus. Owen returns home after six years away in Dublin with Lieutenant Yolland, a soldier working on the Ordnance Survey map of Ireland. As Owen acts as a translator and go-between for the locals and British, a love triangle forms between Yolland, Manus, and local woman, Máire.

The clash of cultures results in a series of misunderstandings and misinterpretations that reveal, without a shared method of communication, chaos will prevail and instability will rule the day.

Premiered in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1980, this new productions runs at the King’s all week.