Monday 20 November 2017

He is gone, but let us remember all that he has given us

MICHAEL COLGAN: There was no better company than Friel
MICHAEL COLGAN: There was no better company than Friel

Michael Colgan

The principal reason I've spent my life working in the theatre is because of the company I keep, and there was no better company than time spent with Brian Friel. He and I, along with his wife Anne, have been close friends for over 30 years, and that friendship has been the greatest gift of my professional career. Of course, there is a terrible sadness at his loss, but we must remind ourselves of all that he has given us. Plays that tell us who we are, examine the society we live in, and teach us how to get by. Plays that will be enjoyed for generations to come. We all have reasons to be thankful to Brian Friel, and I know that I will be forever grateful for:

His relish of language

His loathing of sentimentality

His glorious irreverence

His keen avoidance of the amateur

His unquestioned integrity

His unique and unswerving loyalty to the work

His hungry eye

His relentless and steadfast ability to hold a grudge

His generosity - even with his cigars

His late-night gossip

His sudden and perfectly timed acts of kindness

His private standard of excellence

And, above all, grateful for the gifts of his magnificent plays

And the opulence of his words

Michael Colgan

Michael Colgan is director of the Gate Theatre

Sunday Independent

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