Tuesday, 12 July 2016

French Playboys of the Western World - From the Archives

As the build-up begins to the awarding of the designation of European Capital of Culture, a look into the archives reveal endless cultural exchanges between Galway, its people, place and of course culture and the continent. In 1984, La Baladin du Monde Occidental (The Playboy of the Western World) a French translation of the iconic play written by J.M Synge, was produced in Galway by a French theatre group - Théâtre du Pré Perché, a theatre group from Brittany. The play was produced at the Jesuit Hall in Salthill, a venue also used by other theatre groups such as Druid Theatre Company on various occasions.

A further French production of 'Le Balladin' and a programme for which is within the Druid Theatre Company archives at the Hardiman Library, NUI Galway, is a production by 'Théâtre des Treize Vents', the national dramatic centre of the region of Langeudoc-Roussillon, based in Montpellier. The programme contains numerous articles on the history of the play, information on the culture and history of the West of Ireland and a biography of Synge.

In 1896, Synge had a chance encounter with the poet and dramatist, W. B. Yeats, who gave Synge the now famous advice, which was to give up Paris and go to the Aran Islands. "Live there as if you were one of the people themselves; express a life that has never found expression." As well as the volume of essays published by Synge in his "The Aran Islands", the infamous 'Playboy' was born from that trip and as can be seen in these images, brought the wild stories of Christy Mahon to the French  language.  

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