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- Waiting for Godot (1952) is the masterpiece of the absurdist playwright Samuel Beckett to whose works Friel's are frequently compared.
- The Glass Menagerie (1944) by Tennessee Williams is a ‘‘memory play’’ to which Dancing at Lughnasa has often been compared. A man narrates the play as a memory of his mother, sister, and father who has abandoned them, addressing the audience directly, as in Friel's play. The lines, ‘‘I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion,’’ and ‘‘In memory everything seems to happen to music,’’ echo similar sentiments as expressed in Friel's play.
- Philadelphia, Here I Come! (1964) was Friel's first commercially and critically successful stage play. It is about the thoughts of a young Irish man about to emigrate to America.
- Friel's Aristocrats (1979) is about an aristocratic Irish Catholic family on the verge of decline. In 1989 this play won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best foreign play.
- Friel's Translations (1980) is considered by some critics to be his best stage play. It focuses on the theme of Irish national identity in the wake of British governmental policy in Ireland.
- The Diviner: Brian Friel's Best Short Stories (1983) is a selection of Friel's short stories previously published in the New Yorker and other collections.
- Molly Sweeney (1994) is another Friel play about a blind forty-one-year-old woman whose sight is unexpectedly restored, altering her relationship with her husband.
- Give Me Your Answer, Do! (1997) is Friel's most recent play. Set in Friel's fictional country of Donegal, this play concerns an author, Tom Connolly, and his alcoholic wife, Daisy, who are visited in their rural home by a scholar, another author, and Daisy's parents.
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