(if itʻs 3:20am in the time zone I just left, does that count as my usual insomnia?)
Iʻve become fascinated with the way Friel has structured "Translations." There are four scenes. The first is completely additive: it starts with three characters onstage, then another enters, then more, until finally all 10 characters are together for the only time in the play. The second scene is essentially a two-hander between Owen and Yolland, but single characters keep popping in: Doalty, Manus, Hugh, Maire. The third scene is outdoors, itʻs only Maire and Yolland and only 4 pages long. (This reminds me of Chekhovʻs four-act plays with often one outdoor act). The fourth scene starts with Owen onstage, and is a series of characters coming in and then leaving him: Manus, Doalty, Maire, Sarah, Bridget. We were laughing in rehearsal tonight about how many times heʻs left onstage to comment after someone departs. But noticing this has given me a clue to the turmoil in Owen's character. By the end of the play, he sees his presence as a pivotal aspect of the tragedy at hand. The irony is that he is the one who left Baile Beag for six years to become a Dubliner, and now he is the one stuck in the classroom while everyone else leaves it. In the end, he leaves it as well, and I think that decision to leave is made more powerful by the structure of his "stuckness" since his arrival.