2020/21 Digital Season
By Brian Friel
Directed by Peter DeLaurier
STREAMING ON DEMAND
January 22 - March 7, 2021
"So fine... I can wholeheartedly recommend this version." –Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal
"Beautifully written...and acted, it's a reminder that good theater endures." –Philadelphia Inquirer
In this New York Drama Critics' Circle Award-winning play, Molly Sweeney leads a full and productive life as a woman with blindness. But her husband Frank can never leave well enough alone. His insistence that she undergo a risky surgery to restore her sight has powerful and unintended consequences. Inspired by Oliver Sacks' essay To See and Not See, legendary Irish playwright Brian Friel tells this gentle tale from the shifting perspectives of Molly, Frank, and the surgeon who values his skills above his patients.
Molly Sweeney was filmed at St. Stephen's Theater in Center City Philadelphia in fall 2020, with strict adherence to all CDC, state, and local health and safety guidelines.
WATCH THE TRAILER
MOLLY SWEENEY on THE LANTERN SEARCHLIGHT BLOG
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Brian Friel: The "Irish Chekhov"
The legendary Irish playwright's plays examine consistent struggles through vastly different forms
Behind the Scenes: Design in Theatrical Storytelling
The Lantern Artistic Director and Molly Sweeney design team share their inspirations and process
To See and Not See: Vision, Understanding, and Oliver Sacks
The science behind Brian Friel's Molly Sweeney and the article that inspired the play
Behind the Scenes: Making Theater in a Pandemic
The cast and creative team on making Molly Sweeney in the age of Covid-19
Behind the Scenes: Filming Molly Sweeney
Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon writes about bringing theater alive safely onscreen
Get deeper insights into great plays
Join the Lantern Email Club
Anthony Lawton as Mr. Rice • Ian Merrill Peakes as Frank Sweeney • Geneviève Perrier as Molly Sweeney
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Nick Embree, Scenic Designer • Leigh Ivory Clark Paradise, Costume Designer • Janet Embree, Lighting Designer • Christopher Colucci, Sound Designer & Original Music • Michael P. Toner, Dialect Coach • Rebecca Smith, Associate Producer
NEWS & REVIEWS
Molly Sweeney is "a natural for webcasting, though it is not nearly so easy to stage as it looks at first glance. Fortunately, Lantern Theater Company's revival, directed by Peter DeLaurier and taped in an empty theater on a semi-naturalistic set designed by Nick Embree, is so fine as to be worthy of unapologetic comparison with the Irish Rep's 2020 video version, and the members of the cast, Anthony Lawton, Ian Merrill Peakes and Geneviève Perrier, are far more than equal to their challenging parts. Even if you've seen Molly Sweeney produced in the past year, I can wholeheartedly recommend this version. I'd heard good things about the Lantern through the regional-theater grapevine but had never seen any of its shows until now, and I plan to visit them in person as soon as the pandemic is over." –Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal more
"Beautifully written (playwright Brian Friel was incapable of writing a bad sentence) and acted, it's a reminder that good theater endures." –The Philadelphia Inquirer more
"Peter DeLaurier's direction seems subtle on the surface, but I came to appreciate how he established different rhythms for each actor, emphasizing the lingering unreliability of three people telling the same shared history from disparate perspectives. Molly Sweeney never suffers from a lack of drama. Perhaps that's because so much of Irish theater, from Shaw to O'Casey to McPherson, boils down to storytelling at its most elemental. DeLaurier and his company understand that, and in turn, they deliver an experience both simple and striking." –Broad Street Review more
"Impressive... by turns heartrending, whimsical, wryly amusing, and poignant. Molly Sweeney is pretty much ideally served by the streaming format. I've seen the play onstage also, but the intimacy provided here through film close-ups really helps us feel the sense of connection." –Panterre Box more
"A stunning cooperative effort... Supremely well-acted and thought-provoking production." –Beyond My Backyard more
Header Photo: Lawrence Stallings in the world premiere of Me and the Devil (2021); Anthony Lawton and Dave Johnson in Travesties (2022); Melissa Rakiro and Joanna Liao in Twelfth Night (2023); and Paul L. Nolan, Sally Mercer, and Charles McMahon in Copenhagen (2018). Photos by Mark Garvin.
Lantern Theater Company acknowledges that it is situated on Lenapehoking, the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Unami Lenape, and we pay respect to them as this region's original storytellers.