This excellent production by English Touring Theatre of Brian Friel’s play about Ireland in the nineteenth century is riveting from start to finish, and also gives much food for thought. In the 1830s, the English decide they want an Ordnance Survey map of Ireland, and since they can’t pronounce the old Irish names, they are replacing them with translations or making up new names altogether. Teams of army engineers are sent to survey each area and they employ Owen (Cian Barry), a young Irishman who speaks English, to translate for them. Owen gradually realizes that he is betraying his heritage. Soon the old names will be forgotten, along with the memories and traditions that they embodied. A whole culture is being eroded in the name of progress. They even change his name to Rowan!
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