Liturgy, ritual, and community in four plays by Brian Friel.
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Parker, Courtney Bailey.
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This thesis considers the function of ritual and liturgy within four plays by Irish playwright Brian Friel—Philadelphia, Here I Come! (1964); Faith Healer (1979); Dancing at Lughnasa (1990); and Molly Sweeney (1994)—while paying special attention to how these more spiritual traits elegize not only the Irish experience, but also the theatre experience. In Philadelphia, Here I Come! and Dancing at Lughnasa, I argue that Friel advocates a household vision of spirituality, wherein the institutionalized forms of Catholicism find deeper significance once transposed to the confines of the home. My second chapter examines Molly Sweeney and Faith Healer in light of documentary theatre and how Friel uses the disparate communities in these two plays to ritualistically illustrate a representation of community that dramatizes the theatre itself.