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Brian Friel

Marie-Louise Muir | 18:28 UK time, Tuesday, 28 February 2012

It was heartening to see Brian Friel at the opening of his version of "Uncle Vanya" at the Lyric Theatre Belfast. After the play was over, he took time outside with director Mick Gordon. As both huddled out of the wind at the front of the building, hands cupped around the lit match, first to light Friel's trademark cigar, next Mick's cigarette, I looked out at them, wondering what they were discussing. Obviously the play itself, the press night staging always a nervous night. Was Friel happy? Was he questioning anything? His face was inscrutable. It was a conversation I could only watch through the glass. Friel has long eschewed media interviews. Every request I ask of him, in all my years anchoring "Arts Extra", has been politely declined through the most courteous letters. I treasure those very kind rejection letters. But, oh, for one moment, to metaphorically cup my hands and shield the lit match from the wind, and ignite the airwaves with a Brian Friel in conversation. I can only imagine, with my nose pressed up against the glass, inside, looking out.




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