Translations by Brian Friel, English Touring Theatre, Northcott Theatre, Exeter, Tuesday to Saturday, March 18 to 22.
Following the recent successes of Tartuffe, The Real Thing and The Misanthrope, English Touring Theatre return to the Northcott with this play by Irish playwright, theatre director and author Brian Friel, set in 19th century rural Ireland.
Farm girl Máire finds herself torn between the affections of the local schoolteacher and the love of a British soldier, as the British Army arrives in their quiet Donegal village to translate Gaelic place names into the King’s English. The resulting clash of two worlds threatens the very heart of the community as they struggle to interpret each other.
Taking the key role of English soldier Yolland is James Northcote (pictured), from Taunton.
“Translations is a pretty lively night out but one that is about love, loneliness and the power of language,” he says. “It’s a funny, moving and thought-provoking show from one of our greatest living playwrights – Brian Friel.”
Yolland falls in love with an Irish girl who can only speak Gaelic, but throughout the play the language of love is more powerful than words.
“It’s a challenge but an amazing thing to get to explore,” says James. “Friel has Moira and Yolland speaking different languages but has written it all in English. The way that Beth Cooke (playing Máire) and I actually communicate on stage can’t be through the lines but through the physical experience of being in the presence of someone you’re falling in love with. You have to block out the lines at the same time as listening to them as if your life depends on it. It’s an amazing trick to play on your brain.”
James is delighted to be returning to the Westcountry for this run.
“I am incredibly proud to have grown up in the Westcountry,” he says. “I spent most of my time as a child tramping around exploring the Quantocks and Exmoor. I was brought upon theatre at the Northcott, Bristol Old Vic, The Brewhouse and the Tacchi Morris Centre and introduced to the technicalities of filmmaking at the Engine Room in Bridgwater.”