Gore Bay Theatre to present a masterpiece of modern theatre in ‘Molly Sweeney’


GORE BAY – Gore Bay Theatre will be presenting one of the masterpieces of modern theatre, ‘Molly Sweeney,’ winner of the New York Drama Critics Award for best foreign play, the Lucillle Lortel Award for best play in the New York season as well as other prestigious awards, written by one of the titans of World Theatre, Brian Friel.

The New York Times said, “for the careful viewer, ‘Molly Sweeney’ by master story teller Brian Friel is an astonishing work, a deeply moving meditation on hope, change and despair. It’s compelling theatre, a highly entertaining play with laughs while posing serious questions which live long after in the psyche.”

The play is about Molly Sweeney, a middle aged woman who has been blind since birth, and the two men in her life, her husband Frank and her doctor, Mr. Rice, and how they all deal with a possible medical breakthrough. Three points of view in this poignant drama are related by each character addressing the audience directly. 

Through it all we see each characters’ painful and happy history, their memories and the events that led them to meet. Their stories interweave on stage, threading in and around each other’s lives, until the unexpected and touching conclusion to this striking tale.

The New York Post said, “Brian Friel’s beautiful and dazzling ‘Molly Sweeney’ is one of those marvelous onion plays. As you peel away each plump and juicy layer, another layer emerges underneath, and yet another. What a marvelous play this is! See it, wander in it and wonder at it.”

The Boston Tech called it, “a subtle, yet overpowering production that lingers on in your mind for a long time, a sheer delight for the soul and a challenge for the mind. It is a rare gem, go and see it while you can.”

Directors Andrea Emmerton and Walter Maskel are extremely excited about presenting this highly acclaimed play. Ms. Emmerton said, “I love Friel’s writing and ‘Molly Sweeney’ is one of his best. We have an outstanding and dedicated cast with Tara Bernatchez, John Robertson and Will Smith who have worked tirelessly the last four months mastering an Irish accent, the rich language and the three achingly poignant character studies, each a well-rounded story in itself, and I love the plays simplicity in the grandest tradition of Irish storytelling.”

Mr. Maskel added, “theatre is one of the few places left where we are forced to construct a world using only language and our imaginations, and ‘Molly Sweeney’ forces us to listen, absorb and be moved by the power of storytelling. It is also one of the most challenging plays we have ever produced, particularly for the actors.”

“We are also very fortunate to have Mary Anderson of Barrie Island who composed and performed original harp music for the production,” said Mr. Maskel. “I saw her perform 25 years ago when she was part of a group called Anderson and Brown, and I was so impressed I purchased their CD. She is an incredibly talented artist.”

Gore Bay Theatre is well known for its standard of excellence and has the distinct honour of being the most award winning community theatre in the province.

Their performance on February 28 of ‘Molly Sweeney’ will be adjudicated by adjudicator Annette Procunier directly after the performance as part of the Northern Ontario Drama Festival which features plays that are produced in North Bay, Sudbury, the Sault and Gore Bay.

For more information, see the ad on page 14 of the February 12th issue of The Manitoulin Expositor newspaper.