Contributed By Christina Morin
When I was a student in Dublin, one of my favourite evening outings was to the Abbey, especially when the Access All Abbey pass made it possible to see pretty much everything for about a tenner. So impressed was I with the deal, that when my family visited from the States I proudly trotted them in for a new reworking of Synge’s Playboy of the Western World by Roddy Doyle and Bisi Adigun. Then a seasoned veteran of Dublin humour myself, I never thought how incomprehensible this might be for American natives on one of their first visits to Ireland, and my hurriedly whispered explanations only seemed to confuse rather than enlighten. Nevertheless, I like to think they enjoyed the experience, despite the evident disadvantage of losing much of the subtler points of comedy ‘in translation’, as it were.
This episode came to mind last Tuesday evening, when I found myself back at the Abbey to attend a welcome revival of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s fantastic 1775 play, The Rivals. Like the recent performance of Playboy, this production of The Rivals has involved some updating, and an evident concern for cast and crew alike has been how to ‘translate’ Sheridan’s rollicking eighteenth-century comedy for a twenty-first century audience seemingly far removed from the interests, concerns, and intrigues of Sheridan’s society misses and misfits. Read more