Brian Friel's The Freedom of the City, With Cara Seymour, Joe Sikora, Kicks Off Irish Rep's 25th Season Oct. 3
By Michael Gioia
Off-Broadway's Irish Repertory Theatre kicks off its 25th anniversary season Oct. 3 with Brian Friel's The Freedom of the City. Opening night is Oct. 14 at the company's Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage.
Directed by Irish Rep producing director Ciarán O'Reilly (Irish Rep's Beyond the Horizon, Dancing at Lughnasa), the limited engagement continues through Nov. 25.
The cast includes Cara Seymour (Present Laughter) as Lily, Joe Sikora (The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, "Boardwalk Empire") as Skinner, James Russell (CTV's "Comedy Inc.") as Michael, Ciarán Byrne, Clark Carmichael, Christa Scott-Reed (The Talls), John C. Vennema (The Elephant Man) as Judge, Craig Wroe and Evan Zes.
Here's how Irish Rep bills the show: "Set in Derry, Northern Ireland during the aftermath of a civil rights meeting, The Freedom of the City revolves around an inquiry into the shooting by British soldiers of three marchers as they emerged from the Guildhall. As the inquiry continues, with testimony from 'expert' witnesses, the play relives the real events that led to its institution. When the police disrupt the peaceful protest, three unarmed strangers, Lily, a middle-aged mother of 11, and Michael and Skinner, two young men, take refuge from the streets and find themselves inexplicably in the Mayor's Parlor. As the three settle in to the Lord Mayor's opulent office, word spreads about the 'occupation' of the Guildhall. The motley trio is transformed into a band of armed and desperate terrorists, a fiction that is taken up by the church, the media, the army, and nationalist balladeers, all of whom use the myth for their own diverse ends."
In addition to Dancing at Lughnasa and Molly Sweeney, which were both presented in 2011 at Irish Rep, Friel's best-known plays include Translations and the Tony Award-nominated Philadelphia, Here I Come!
Other members of the Freedom of the City creative team include set designer Charlie Corcoran, costume designer David Toser, lighting designer Michael Gottlieb, sound designers Ryan Rumery and M. Florian Staab, wig and hair designer Robert-Charles Vallance, dialect coach Stephen Gabis, production stage manager Pamela Brusoski and assistant stage manager Rebecca C. Monroe.
The Irish Repertory Theatre, founded by O'Reilly and Charlotte Moore in 1988, brings works by Irish and Irish-American masters and contemporary playwrights to American audiences, to provide a context for understanding the contemporary Irish-American experience, and to encourage the development of new works focusing on the Irish and Irish-American experience.
The Irish Repertory Theatre is located at 132 West 22nd Street. For more information and tickets, call (212) 727-2737 visit IrishRep.org.
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