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Lantern Theater Company Presents MOLLY SWEENEY

Streaming on demand Jan. 22 – Feb. 14, 2021.

Lantern Theater Company Presents MOLLY SWEENEY

Lantern Theater Company continues its reimagined 2020/21 season with a newly filmed production of Molly Sweeney by legendary Irish playwright Brian Friel, directed by Peter DeLaurier and featuring 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. Hailed by The New York Times as "a deeply moving meditation on hope, change, and despair," Molly Sweeney will stream on demand from Friday, January 22 through Sunday, February 14, 2021. Tickets and information are available online at

Molly Sweeney deftly explores how human beings make decisions and influence the lives of others. Inspired by Oliver Sacks' essay To See or Not to 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 will present Molly Sweeney at a time when we are all painfully aware of how those in power make decisions that affect our health and our livelihoods. The play examines how the characters make assumptions about the lived experiences of others. Frank and Mr. Rice are less concerned with Molly's perspective and more focused on their own goals, Frank needing to "fix" Molly and Mr. Rice seeing an opportunity to regain professional success after losing his career to alcoholism. One justification Frank and Mr. Rice provide for attempting the surgery is that Molly has "nothing to lose." But by the end of the play, Molly is alone.

"The fundamental act of being human is to make meaning from the world around us," said Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon. "Our individual interpretations of the raw sensory material of the world we share both create our own identities and form our unique personal contributions to our community. Molly's story is one of a woman whose ability to experience and create that meaning is utterly transformed by one event. Suddenly everything she has is new, what she had before is gone, and she must find a whole new way to interpret the world at the most basic level of experience. Molly Sweeney is a play that we knew we could produce safely in this strange and disturbing time. It is also a play that strikes a deep and resonant chord of compassion for a bruised and battered humanity. Friel's voice is both loving and honest, enabling us to see the flaws of his characters right alongside their courage and kindness."

Lantern Theater Company will delve into the themes of Molly Sweeney on its Lantern Searchlight blog, available online at Published articles will explore the Oliver Sacks essay that inspired Friel's play, the geography and psychology of Friel's plays, and behind the scenes interviews with the artists about making theater during a pandemic. New content will be added throughout the production's run.

Tickets for Molly Sweeney are $20 per household and are available online at 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 January 22 - February 14, 2021 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.

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