Brian Friel is Ireland’s leading living playwright, a fact that is easily observable on the billboards of Derry, Dublin, London and New York. These locations are also essential in understanding the range and reach of Friel’s theatrical concerns and his projected audience. From his first major success on stage, Philadelphia Here I Come! in 1964 to the triumph of Dancing at Lughnasa in 1990, Friel has revived and revised the Irish tradition of verbal theatre. This book offers a critical examination of Friel’s dramatic writing both within the context of Irish storytelling and considering his crucial position as a writer from the north of Ireland negotiating between the responsibilities of art and the demands of violent conflict. Friel’s work forms the cornerstone of contemporary Irish drama and this comprehensive study shows why he is recognised as one of the most significant and influential playwrights writing today.