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Lovers: Winners and Losers

Lovers: Winners and Losers
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Brian Friel
Publisher: Dramatic Publishing
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 118
Pub. Date: 1968
ISBN-10: 0871292459
ISBN-13: 9780871292452
Cast Size: 5 women, 3 men

About the Play:

Lovers is a full-length comedic drama by Brian Friel. An evening of two complementary one-act plays that was Brian Friel's second international success. In Winners, a young couple happily prepare for their wedding day, unaware of the tragic accident about to befall them. A Commentator describes the accident to the audience, and both narrates and appears in Losers, in which he plays a middle-aged husband locking horns with a domineering mother-in-law. Each act can stand alone as its own play. However when performed together it can open our eyes to love, passion and tragedy.

Lovers is written in two parts: Winners and Losers. In one of his most memorable works, two couples, one young and one past their prime, struggle to navigate human intimacy in this darkly humorous and poetic two-part tale of love, laughter and loss.

In the first part, Winners, two commentators are seated on either side of the stage with books. They speak without emotion about a 17-year-old girl and a boy half a year older who are on their way to meet upon a hilltop to study before examinations and perhaps talk about marriage. She is bubbling with life and is extreme in her enthusiasms. Whatever she likes, she loves; whatever she dislikes, she hates – momentarily. Joe, who follows, is earnest and has a total and touching belief in the value of education. While Joe tries to study, Mag talks, teases, sulks, gets angry and yet loving, too! Dispassionately, as the power and beauty of this love scene develop, the commentators tell us that the young lovers will soon be in a fatal accident. In the midst of enchantment, we discover the effects of this tragedy that will be. In the magic of this masterpiece, we see the lovers not only in this moment but in all time, and we share in their triumph, for despite the coming accident, they are, as the title suggests, winners.

The second part, Losers, is about older lovers, and a critic called it an "uproariously funny tragedy." This couple is trapped by an invalid mother who worships a nonexistent saint. Before this couple marries, the mother demands their immediate presence any time the couple stops talking in the parlour – and so the man tries to recite the only poem he knows while courting. The mother insists they come to see her when they start talking after marriage.

Lovers premiered in 1967 at The Gate Theatre in Dublin. It debuted on Broadway in 1968 at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center and was nominated for a Tony for Best Play. Winners and Losers have become perennial favourites with drama companies and audiences all over the world.

Cast: 5 women, 3 men

What people say:

"If life were fair, Brian Friel ...would have won a Nobel Prize long ago. All you see in Lovers are Mr. Friel's small-town characters, realized so fully ... that they give the impression of having been played by ordinary people... Like Horton Foote and August Wilson, he takes everyday speech and turns it into something not too far removed from poetry. He has a great ear – and a great heart." — The Wall Street Journal

"Mr. Friel explores what is unsaid, hauntingly. Even his minor works, like Lovers, hold magic." — The New York Times

About the Playwright:

Brian Friel (1929-2015) was an Irish dramatist, theatre director and author. One of Ireland's greatest playwrights, he was a leading voice on stages on both sides of the Atlantic. He received his college education in Derry, Maynooth and Belfast and taught at various schools in and around Derry from 1950 to 1960. Often described as the "Irish Chekhov," he has penned more than 30 plays in a career spanning six decades.

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