Playwright, Molly Sweeney
Brian Friel, largely considered modern Ireland's leading playwright, was born to a schoolmaster and a postmistress in 1929. After working as a teacher in Derry for ten years, he married Anne Morrison and moved to Donegal to begin writing in earnest. His first significant theatrical success was Philadelphia, Here I Come, which debuted to rare reviews at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1964. He went on to pen The Love of Cass McGuire, The Mundy Scheme, The Freedom of the City, Living Quarters, Faith Healer, an adaption of Turgenev's novel Fathers and Sons, Dancing at Lughnasa (winner of three Tony Awards, a New York Drama Critics Circle award for Best Play and an Olivier Award for Best Play), and Wonderful Tennessee. In 1980, Mr. Friel joined Stephen Rea in founding the Field Day Theatre Company, where they first staged the Weart-Biggs Peace Price-winning Translations, an adaptation of Chekhov's Three Sisters. The company's productions explored the middle ground between the secular culture of Northern Ireland and the more traditional rural world. Famously reclusive, he has stated, "I am married, have five children, live in the country, smoke too much, fish a bit, read a lot, worry a lot, get involved with sporadic causes and invariable regret the involvement, and hope that between now and my death I will have acquired a religion, a philosophy, a sense of life that will the make the end less frightening than it appears to me at this moment."