It is the summer of 1878, a time of unrest and the early days of Ireland’s ‘Home Rule’ movement, at The Lodge in Ballybeg, the Donegal home of the Gores, a planter family.
Brian Friel’s beautifully modulated new drama continues the historical probing which culminated in Translations (1980). In that masterpiece, the effects of a military operation to map the physical contours of the Irish landscape infuse the tragedy. In this, his latest play, a scientific exercise to measure the native physique with a view to determining the Irish character inflames an already volatile social moment.
The Gores, father and son, are both in love with a local woman who has worked in The Lodge since she was fourteen. All three pursue a dream of freedom from their ‘history and heritage and the awful burden’ of the big house. The Home Place is an exquisite addition to a superlative body of work.