Inclusive Dates: 1994 - 1997
Roundabout Theatre Company staged Brian Friel's Molly Sweeney at the Laura Pels Theate at the Criterion Center, with previews starting on December 23, 1995, opening on December 26, 1995 and closing night on May 12, 1996. The production was originally staged at The Gate Theatre Dublin and co-presented by producer Emanuel Azenberg. The production won the 1996 Lucile Lortel and Outer Critics awards for outstanding play, Alfred Molina won the Theatre World award, and Brian Friel won the Drama Desk award for best foreign play.
Greg Evans, writing for Variety on Jan 7, 1996, wrote "Molly Sweeney, Brian Friel's brooding meditation on sight and blindness, loss and redemption, is as beautifully composed as it is acted on the stage of the Roundabout Theater [sic] Co.'s new Laura Pels Theater."
Directed by Brian Friel, with set and costume design by Joe Vanek, lighting design by Mick Hughes, production management by Philip Cusack and John Vivian, and technical management by Unitech Productions.
Catherine Byrne played the role of Molly Sweeney and was replaced by Joan McMurtrey, Jason Robards played the role of Mr. Rice and was replaced by Brian Murray, and Alfred Molina played the role of Frank Sweeney and was replaced by Colin Lane. Understudies: Malachy McCourt, Colin Lane, Christopher McHale.
This production of Molly Sweeney was originally produced at The Gate Theatre, Dublin in 1994 with a British premiere at The Almeia Theatre also in 1994. Catherine Byrne, as Molly Sweeney, was brought to the United States to play the role with replacement of Mr. Rice (by British actor Alfred Molina) and Frank Sweeney (by Jason Robards). The play was revived in London in 2013 by Print Room Theatre.
The play centers on Molly, a woman blind since birth, who undergoes a surgery to restore sight. The play is loosely based on Oliver Sacks' essay To See and Not See. " Mr. Friel's plays are concerned with the nature of being in exile. Characters find themselves set apart from the world in which they grew up, by time, by outlook, by ambition, by disappointment, and for Molly Sweeney, by a medical procedure. These characters will sometimes further banish themselves by travelling far away to Africa, to Philadelphia, or even to a place deep inside their own heads." (Molly Sweeney Study Guide, with text by Deborah Pope)
Production Files span one Hollinger box containing 11 folders, two Playbills and three marketing flyers. Opening night photos were removed from the production box and rehoused with photo collection.
Digital holdings include the following folders:
Education (PDF of Upstage study guide)
Opening Night (select TIF photos,including prints from contact sheets)
Playbill (jpeg scans of select pages from the Playbill)
Press (Archive-scanned selects)
Production Photographs (select color and black and white jpgs and TIF files, and black and white and color images from the Gate Theatre Dublin production)
Show Art (mock ups and poster art)
There is a related collection of marketing materials containing mock ups, ad placements and other promotions.
Contracts and other confidential documents have been moved to the Contracts cabinets with restricted access.
Access Restrictions: Open and available for research by appointment only.
Preferred Citation: Molly Sweeney (1995), Roundabout Theatre Company Archives
Library of Congress Subject Heading Roundabout Theatre CompanyFriel, BrianRobards, JasonByrne, CatherineMolina, Alfred, 1953-Dublin Gate TheatreAzenberg, EmanuelHaimes, ToddVaněk, Joe (Set designer)Blind womenBlindness in literatureMcCourt, Malachy, 1931-