Brian Friel proving star attraction at City of Culture

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Brian Friel has been packing them in at the Millennium Forum this week – and there’s not long to wait for the encore.

Freedom of the City played to rapt houses earlier this week and now Adrian Dunbar brings his production of Performances with the Brodsky Quartet at the Great Hall, at the University of Ulster’s Magee campus,which opens on Valentine’s Night and continues until February 23.

Performances is the story of a young woman’s need to discover the love and romance at the heart of Czech composer Leos Janacek’s haunting masterwork for string quartet, Intimate Letters. With the world-renowned Brodsky quartet, Friel’s haunting play explores the past by allowing the music to do the talking.

The Friel season continues with Translations which opens for a run at the Millennium Forum on March 13 before embarking on a UK and Irish tour. Set in a hedge school in Ballybeg in 1833, the play sets the scene for the appearance of the British Army who are translating place names from Gaelic into the King’s English. The clash of cultures results in a series of misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

The play was first performed in the Guildhall in 1980, the first production by the Field Day Theatre Company, founded by Friel and Stephen Rea. This production is the second Friel play to be directed by Adrian Dunbar in the 2013 City of Culture programme.

Tickets for both Performances and Translations are available now from the City of Culture box office at Telephone 7126 4455.

A fourth Friel play, The Enemy Within, comes to The Playhouse in Artillery Street in September.