-Courtesy of Lantern Theater Company
Feature photo- Geneviève Perrier as Molly Sweeney. Photo by Mark Garvin
Lantern Theater Company announced today that its newly filmed production of Molly Sweeney by legendary Irish playwright Brian Friel will extend its on-demand streaming run through Sunday, February 28, 2021 to meet audience demand. Tickets and information are available online at www.lanterntheater.org. Directed by Peter DeLaurier and featuring Philadelphia-based actors and Lantern favorites Anthony Lawton, Ian Merrill Peakes, and Geneviève Perrier, this fully designed and safely realized production was filmed at the Lantern’s artistic home at St. Stephen’s Theater in Center City Philadelphia by the Emmy Award-winning filmmakers at Natural Light Films.
“We have been shut up in our homes for almost one year, and if you’re like me, you have taken this opportunity to stream theater performances and watch theater artists from around the world plying their craft,” said Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon. “One thing that this pandemic has brought home is that the actors who live and work in Philadelphia are second to none. We are very proud of the work of these terrific local actors – all three well known to Lantern audiences – and we are pleased to be able to extend Brian Friel’s beautiful and devastating play for an additional two weeks.”
Molly Sweeney deftly explores how human beings make decisions and influence the lives of others. Inspired by Oliver Sacks’ essay To See and Not See, the play follows Molly, a 41-year-old Irish woman who has been blind since she was ten months old. Raised at home rather than being sent to a school for the blind, she was taught by her father to appreciate the tactile world around her and has become a self-assured and independent woman – until her husband Frank and her ophthalmologist Mr. Rice persuade her to undergo a risky surgery to restore her vision.
The Lantern’s filmed production of Molly Sweeney has achieved acclaim with audiences around the world and theater critics alike. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s John Timpane hailed Molly Sweeney as “beautifully written (playwright Brian Friel was incapable of writing a bad sentence) and acted, it’s a reminder that good theater endures.” Writing for Parterre Box, former Philadelphia magazine theater critic David Fox referred to the production as “impressive,” writing that “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.” In the Broad Street Review, Cameron Kelsall wrote that director Peter DeLaurier and the actors “deliver an experience both simple and striking.”
Lantern Theater Company is delving into the themes of Molly Sweeney on its Lantern Searchlight blog, available online at lanterntheater.org/searchlight. We are exploring the world of the play with backstage interviews with the artists about making theater during a pandemic and bringing theater alive safely onscreen, the geography of Brian Friel’s plays, Oliver Sacks’ fascinating New Yorker essay that inspired the play, insights into the play’s design, and more. New content will be added throughout the production’s extended run, now through February 28, 2021.
Tickets for Molly Sweeney are $20 per household and are available online at www.lanterntheater.org or by calling the Lantern Box Office at (215) 829-0395. Ticket buyers will receive an email confirmation with full instructions and a private ticket access link, which will provide on-demand access to Molly Sweeney for one viewing anytime during the streaming period. The play can be viewed on most internet-connected devices with email/web browser access, including desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and select smart TVs. The Lantern Box Office will be accessible by phone and email for extended hours throughout the streaming period to provide assistance.
About Lantern Theater Company
Founded in 1994 and now in its 27th season, Lantern Theater Company’s mission is to produce plays that investigate and illuminate what is essential in the human spirit and the spirit of the times. The Lantern serves the Philadelphia region with artistic and educational programming, notably partnering with middle schools and high schools in the Philadelphia School District to provide in-classroom residencies in support of curricular learning. Throughout the Covid-19 health crisis, the Lantern has continued to provide artistic programming on both a free and paid basis, ranging from readings of Shakespeare plays to filmed versions of fully realized theatrical productions, including Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in December 2020.
Following Molly Sweeney, the Lantern’s reimagined 2020/21 season will include streaming productions of newly selected plays that can be safely rehearsed, staged, and filmed, as well as filmed plays from the Lantern production archives. Additional details will be announced as events and dates are confirmed. More information about the Lantern is available online at www.lanterntheater.org.