Acting Between the Lines
The Field Day Theatre Company and Irish Cultural Politics, 1980-1984
The Field Day Theatre Company has been a vital presence on the cultural and intellectual scene in Ireland since its inception in 1980. This venture represented an attempt by a group of distinguished Irish artists to contribute to a resolution of Northern Ireland's political crisis. Founded by playwright Brian Friel and actor Stephen Rea, Field Day's board of directors has included writers Seamus Heaney, Seamus Deane, Tom Paulin, and Thomas Kilroy and documentary filmmaker David Hammond. Among Field Day's premieres are such modern Irish classics as Friel's Translations (1980), Kilroy's Double Cross (1986), and Stewart Parker's Pentecost (1987). In addition to producing new Irish plays and masterpieces of world drama, Field Day since 1983 has published literary and critical works ranging from pamphlets on Irish language and history to the multi-volume Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing and an on-going series of essays and monographs edited by Deane.
In her pioneering study of Field Day, Marilynn Richtarik offers a narrative account of the early years of the company, during which its self-image and public reputation were formed. Drawing on contemporary reviews, pre-production publicity, pronouncements over time by the various directors, and personal interviews, she constructs a rich background for her discussion of Field Day's evolving aims and concrete achievements. Lucidly written and carefully documented, Acting Between the Lines makes compelling reading for anyone interested in Ireland, theatre, or the politics of culture.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marilynn J. Richtarik is associate professor of English at Georgia State University. She has prepared a new foreword for this edition.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
"The strengths of Richtarik's study lie in its undoubted enthusiasm for, and belief in, the potential of theatre; in its meticulously researched detail; and in its concentration on the contradictions within Field Day."—Irish Review
"[A] thorough and evocative exploration of Field Day's various attempts to transcend the cultural, political, and sectarian divisions within Ireland, both north and south. . . ."—Choice
"Marilynn Richtarik's book is a welcome, rigorous, and well-written study of the individuals and forces which gave life to Field Day in its first five years."—Times Literary Supplement
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