Molly Sweeney - Forces Us to Question Our Perceptions

By Bob and Karen Isaacs

BOB: Brian Friel’s Molly Sweeney now at Long Wharf is a three person play that discusses how perception is not always the same for everyone. In this case, you have a blind woman, and a husband who believes she could see if properly treated, and a doctor who is thinks he can help her.

KAREN: In the play, Molly Sweeney has been blind since infancy. She only knows the world through touch, sound, taste and smell. But when she is goaded by her husband and a doctor into an operation to restore her sight, the result in not exactly what everyone expected. She sees for the first time but sight brings with it confusions and for the audience  unexpected conclusions about the way we perceive our existence.

BOB: It is done in a series of short interlocking monologues in which each of the three participants explains his or her situation. The doctor is at first reluctant - in part because he has escaped to this small Irish town of Ballybeg. Jonathan Hogan offers a clear portrait of this once rising medical star that has in sense retreated from the world after his wife left him with a colleague. Ciaran O’Reilly is the husband who restoring his wife's sight is his latest do-good project but sincerely believes his wife’s life will be enhanced with sight.

KAREN: Simone Kirby is touching Molly - who expresses, the equivocal attitude toward the possibility of sight. Her descriptions of how she views the world through sightless eyes makes you realize that she might not be a deprived as her husband thinks she is.

BOB: In the three entrances the characters make during the course of the play, provides a solid image of Molly’s situation.

KAREN: This production originated at New York’s Irish Repertory Theater and was directed by Charlotte Moore, one of the founders with O’Reilly of the theater. It is running through Oct. 16.

BOB: This first production of Long Wharf season and sets a very high standard.

KAREN: Molly Sweeney will leave you emotionally touched and questioning things you thought were simple. And as Gordon Edelstein, Long Wharf’s artistic director wrote in the program notes - it is a “Be careful what you wish for “ story.

This review was aired on WHNHU 88.7 FM and through October 15.

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