Stellar cast for Brian Friel’s Molly Sweeney

A scene from Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel @ The Print Room''�Tristram Kenton
A scene from Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel @ The Print Room''�Tristram Kenton

A rarely performed masterpiece is how critics have described Brian Friel’s poetic play, Molly Sweeney which comes to the Millennium Forum, in Derry for two nights only in March.

The critically acclaimed co-production from the Lyric Theatre, Belfast and Print Room, London stars three well-known local actors.

A scene from Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel @ The Print Room''�Tristram Kenton

A scene from Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel @ The Print Room''�Tristram Kenton

Co Tyrone actress Dorothy Duffy, best known for her role in the heart-wrenching film The Magdalene Sisters stars alongside former Downton Abbey actor Ruairi Conaghan (The Crucible) from Magherafelt and Frankie McCafferty (Philomena) who is originally from Donegal. The play is directed by Abigail Graham.

Blind since infancy, this poetic tale revolves around a woman who is persuaded to have an operation to restore her sight. Her husband Frank is convinced she has nothing to lose; her ophthalmologist Mr Rice is not so sure. Through a journey of memory, hope and despair, the play begs us to not only see, but also understand other people’s points of view.

The director Abigail Graham said she instantly connected with the play.

“When I read the play I just connected with it on an instinctive level before getting to the end of the first half and that’s how I knew it was the play for me,” she said. “It is about a woman who has been blind since 10 months old and it is about the consequences of that operation to restore her sight.”

Dorothy, who now lives in London, said: “She (Molly) is an amazing character. The fact that she is blind to her is really a very insignificant detail in her life. She has great friends, a great job, she swims, walks and is really independent. She then meets Frank in her mid-30s and they have a whirlwind romance and then this subject comes up about an operation to restore her sight.”

The Molly Sweeney tour is part of a celebration of the Irish playwright’s 85th birthday this year and is part of a double bill at the Lyric Theatre which is also staging Philadephia, Here I Come! – 50 years since it was written.

Molly Sweeney plays at the Forum on March 10 and 11, and Strabane’s Alley Theatre on March 14