By Brian Friel.
Cast: 3m., 5w. A play in two parts: "Winners" and "Losers." This free-flowing cascade of dialogue, as beautiful and sparkling as the Ballymore Lake in bright sunlight, will scoop your audience up into the world of that most gifted playwright, Brian Friel. In 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. 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 parlor—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. Walter Kerr summed it up: "Its outrageousness comes from real observation, its satire from sympathy, its woebegone thunders from wit." Bare stage w/platform.