Monday, September 26, 2011


Molly Sweeney has created a world for herself over the past four decades that is both comfortable and rewarding, even though she has been blind almost from birth. Her father has taught her, from the age of five, to identify every cornflower and iris, every spruce and oak, every parsley and chive from their garden, by smell and touch.  Her career as a massage therapist is emotionally and financially secure while vigorous walks and energetic swims are vital parts of her day. Surrounded by good friends and a husband Frank who love her, what more could Molly Sweeney want or need?

Playwright Brian Friel and the Irish Repertory Theatre invite you into the cocoon of life that Molly inhabits in “Molly Sweeney” at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre until Sunday, October 16.  You will long be haunted by your acquaintance with this Irish lass who is offered a gift she may not choose to open.

Simone Kirby as Molly will wrap herself around your heart as she describes her unsighted life as she knows it, filled with “red cheeky faced petunias,” swimming medals, dancing Irish jigs and a fierce independent spirit. Her husband Frank, a protective crusader in the hands of Ciaran O’Reilly, has a history of failed schemes, well meaning but unsuccessful attempts with whales, goats and salmon.  Now he has turned his efforts on Molly and fixated on the chance that her sight can be restored.

With careful research, Frank has latched upon an ophthalmologist, Mr. Rice, (Jonathan Hogan) who was once at the top of his medical game, who has the talents and skills to perform miracles.  Both Frank and Mr. Rice have much to gain by a successful surgery, achieving recognition and prestige.  But does Molly have more to gain or to lose by the operations?  Charlotte Moore directs this poignant tale that is told in a series of monologues, reflecting on the events from each point of view.

For tickets ($55-65), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at  Performances are Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., and selected Wednesdays at 2 p.m.

Get caught up in the profound drama of a young woman whose life changes with a husband’s prodding concern and a surgeon’s scalpel.

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