Gore Bay Theatre takes ‘Molly Sweeney’ into Northern Ontario QUONTA competition

The Gore Bay Theatre’s outstanding production of “Molly Sweeney” will hit the stage for the third and final time this evening (Friday) at the Gore Bay Community Hall. The cast includes, from left, Tara Bernatchez, Will Smith and John Robertson.

GORE BAY – Walter Maskel and Andrea Emmerton don’t shy away from a theatrical challenge and the veteran Gore Bay Theatre co-directors have once again taken on an outstanding piece of theatre with Irish playwright Brian Friel’s ‘Molly Sweeney,’ but even they wouldn’t have tackled the piece without some very stout material.

“We have three incredibly talented actors,” said Mr. Maskel. “Tara Bernatchez, Will Smith and John Robertson have been beautiful people to work with.”

Mr. Maskel described the playwright, Brian Friel, as “one of the titans of world literature, especially in play writing. He has numerous credits to his name.”

This year’s Gore Bay QUONTA entry has benefited greatly from the addition of original music composed and performed by Barrie Island’s Mary Anderson. “She is an amazing harpist,” said Mr. Maskel, who first ran across the artist when she was performing as part of the duo Anderson and Brown back in the ‘90s.

Ms. Emmerton suggested that the underlying currents of the play would appeal to a wide audience, but that having been born in Ireland herself, ‘Molly Sweeney’ “appeals to my Irish sense of exile.”

Ms. Emmerton explained that the two-act play revolves around three characters that occupy a space somewhere between reality and imagination. The title character, Molly, is exiled from her blind world, while another character, the once-and-future renowned eye doctor, Dr. Rice, hopes to use Molly’s operation to regain his standing. His wife had left him previously and he had descended into his own type of madness with the bottle while Frank, Molly’s paramour, is “seeking something, somewhere.”

“All of them have their issues,” she said. There’s nothing quite like issues to create a captivating dynamic under the footlights. 

A sampling of reviews that have raved about the play make a strong case for stopping into the community hall in Gore Bay to take in one of the performances.

“Meticulously crafted, beautifully written parable for our times, powerful, epic—it explores with skill and knowledge the terrible consequences of human frailty and vanity,” said The Irish Independent. “A sheer delight for the soul and an intellectual challenge for the mind, it is so filled with love, faith and hope that we want to hold on to it as we leave the theatre. It is a rare gem, go and see it while you can,” said Boston’s The Tech.

Sounds like an outstanding opportunity to chase away the late winter blues with some outstanding live theatre. All performances of Gore Bay Theatre’s production of ‘Molly Sweeney’ take place at the Gore Bay Community Hall and tickets are $20 at the door. The play takes to the stage at 7:30 pm on February 26, 27 and 28. This will be the Gore Bay Theatre’s entry into the QUONTA Northern Ontario drama festival.