PROGRAMME: The Communication Cord, by Brian Friel (1982)


PROGRAMME: The Communication Cord, by Brian Friel (1982)


Original Program. Excellent condition.

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The action takes place in a restored thatched cottage close to the sea in the remote townland of Ballybeg, County Donegal. The time is the present [1982], early in October; a sunny, gusty afternoon (Act 1) and that evening (Act 2).


‘To remember everything is a form of madness’. Hugh in Translations



First Production: Guildhall, Derry, 21 September 1982


Original Cast 

Claire Harkin  Fedelma Cullen

Senator Doctor Donovan  Kevin Flood

Susan Donovan  Ann Hasson

Evette Giroux  Ruth Hegarty

Nora Dan  Pat Leavy

Barney the Banks (German)  Ian McElhinney

Jack McNeilis  Gerard McSorley

Tim Gallagher  Stephen Rea


Production Team           

Director   Joe Dowling

Designer   Margo Harkin

Lighting Designer   Rory Dempster

Music by  Keith Donald

Design Assistant  Tom Cairns

Company Manager  Noel McKenna

Administration Assistant  Kathleen McCorriston

Stage Manager  Bo Barton

Deputy Stage Manager  Deirdre Spain

Assistant Stage Manager   Michael Foyle

Set Construction  Robert Boyle

PR  Julie Barber

Artist  Basil Blackshaw


‘In a farce, the stage is a machine, the actors and actresses are its moving parts, everything has a function, and nothing has a destiny. The Communication Cord is an antidote to Translations. It reminds us that farce repeats itself as history and that the bogus, the fixed, and the chaotic are features of our daily lives in the social and political world. Tragedy gives us perspective and ennobles our feelings by rendering them subject to forces we recognise but never define. Farce shows everything in close-up; it is concerned to reduce, to expose, to humiliate, and at the same time, to rescue us, via laughter, from the heroics of failure. In this instance, nostalgia for the lost na(t)ive culture—so potent and plaintive in Translations—appears ludicrous and a sham. In fact, it is really an expression of contempt for the past, the standard citified revenge of the sophisiticated on their humble and rural background … Brian Friel has presented us here with the vacuous world of a dying culture. The roof is coming in on our heads.’

Excerpt from ‘In Search of a Story’, programme note by Seamus Deane