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Scholarcast 8: Filming Friel: Lughnasa on Screen

Frank McGuinness


Frank McGuinness speaks of his experience of adapting Brian Friel’s Dancing At Lughnasa for the screen, with Meryl Streep in the leading role. Friel has appeared to shy away from film for most of his distinguished career but was deeply influenced by the wider revolutions in acting, writing and directing across all media during the 1960s when modern sensibility took shape. Friel’s writing may have been influenced by Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller but it also owes a debt to powerful films such as Kurosawa’s Rashomon. By reducing the role of the narrator and repositioning the climactic dance sequence, McGuinness attempted to translate what he regarded as a ‘male’ play into ‘a woman’s movie’.

Frank McGuinness

Frank McGuinness was born in Buncrana, Co. Donegal and is Professor of Creative Writing at University College Dublin. His plays include: The Factory Girls (1982), Baglady (1985), Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (1985), Innocence (1986), Carthaginians (1988), Mary and Lizzie (1989),The Bread Man (1991), Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (1992),The Bird Sanctuary (1992), Mutabilitie (1997), Dolly West’s Kitchen (1999), Gates of Gold (2002), Speaking Like Magpies(2005), There Came a Gypsy Riding (2007). He has written versions of many modern classics including plays by Ibsen, Chekhov, Lorca and Brecht. Recent productions include: Racine’s Phaedra (Donmar Warehouse, 2006), Ibsen’s Ghosts(Bristol Old Vic, 2007), Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea (Arcola Theatre, London, 2008) and Sophocles’ Oedipus (RNT, 2008)



Series edited by: PJ Mathews.
Scholarcast original theme music by: Padhraic Egan, Michael Hussey and Sharon Hussey.
Recording, audio editing, photography and development by: John Matthews, Brian Kelly, Vincent Hoban &
Niall Watts at UCD IT Services, Media Services.
Consultant Producer: Clíodhna Ní Anluain, RTÉ

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