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Irish Repertory Theater's poster for "Freedom of the City" Photo by: Irish Rep

Brian Friel’s powerful “Freedom of the City” comes to New York’s Irish Rep Theater

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Irish Repertory Theater's poster for "Freedom of the City" Photo by: Irish Rep

Brian Friel’s 1974 Broadway play “The Freedom of the City”, directed by Ciaran O’Reilly, is set for an October run at the Irish Repertory Theater in New York.

“The Freedom of the City” is set in Derry, Northern Ireland, during a tense period. An official inquiry is made into the death of British soldiers by three marchers who appear from Guildhall after a civil rights meeting. “Expert” witnesses are brought and the real events are recreated. British police break up a peaceful protest and three strangers, Lily (Seymour) a middle aged mother and Michael (Russell) and Skinner (Sikora), two young men, find themselves in the Mayor’s office in Guildhall. They are mistaken for armed terrorists and once the city hears about the “occupation” of Guildhall, the church, the media, the army, and nationalists use the story of the “occupation” to suit their own ends.

Friel’s is the author other well known plays include “Translations” and the two Tony nominated plays “Philadelphia Here I Come!” and “Lovers.” “The Freedom of the  City” was first performed at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 1973 and it opened on Broadway the following year.

“The Freedom of the City” launches the Irish Repertory Theatre’s 25th Anniversary season. Also in the theatre season, Julian Sands performs in “A Celebration of Harold Printer” directed by John Malkovich.

The Irish Repertory Theatre was founded in 1988 by Producing Director Ciaran O’Reilly and Artistic Director Charlotte Moore to bring classic and contemporary Irish and Irish-American plays to an American audience. Their first production was Sean O’Casey’s “The Plough and the Stars.”

The Theatre seeks to give audiences context for appreciating modern Irish-American experiences and to to encourage new works to explore the Irish and Irish-American experience as well as other cultures. Moore and O’Reilly received the 2011 Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award from Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc.

O’Reilly, who recently worked on Eugene O’Neill’s “Beyond the Horizon” and cofounder of the Rep Theater will direct. This production will star Cara Seymour, Joseph Sikora, James Russell, and John C. Vennema. Performances run to November 25.

“The Freedom of the City” runs from 3rd October to 25th November at the Irish Repertory Theatre (132 West 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues). For more information visit the website, IrishRep.org.

Here's a trailer describing the play:

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