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EARAGAIL ARTS: An insightful play by Friel on the events of Bloody Sunday

Jason Daly (playing Michael), Francis Harkin (playing Skinner) and Claire Cogan (playing Lily).

Jason Daly (playing Michael), Francis Harkin (playing Skinner) and Claire Cogan (playing Lily).

THE director of An Grianán’s production of Brian Friel’s Freedom Of The City said he is delighted to be back for another run at the Letterkenny theatre for the 25th annual Earagail Arts Festival.

The Freedom of the City, which will be staged from July 17 to 19, is Friel’s most overtly political play set in Derry in 1970, in the aftermath of a Civil Rights meeting, it conjures the events of Bloody Sunday, using three main characters.
Three unarmed marchers find themselves in the mayor’s parlour in the Guildhall after the events of Bloody Sunday have unravelled.

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Michael is an unemployed idealist clinging to a heartbreakingly misguided belief that their innocence will prevail. Skinner is a self-described “freeman of the city,” rough in manners but eloquent in his conviction that everyone has a basic right to live with dignity. And Lily is a stubbornly optimistic housewife and mother of 11 children, living in two rooms with a useless husband and no running water.

Sean Donegan, Director, said so far the production has received great response.
“The audience response to the show was phenomenal with many standing ovations.
“Our production allowed Friel’s text to live and breathe and so our audience experienced a story about three ordinary people in an extaordinary situation – a story full of truth and humanity that resonated with all who saw it.

“The play is a very Derry play – and when we played in Derry the audience response was very special. They understood the characters and their way of speaking even more than the Donegal or even Strabane audiences did and it was very moving to see the excitement and passion with which the stroy was recieved in a town where the events of Bloody Sunday have left a scar and where the humour and positivity and playfullness that the characters use to try and survive were only too recognisable to the Derry audience even forty years later.”

Tickets priced €12/10 available in person and over the phone at the festival box office at An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny tel. +353 (0) 74 9120777 or www.eaf.ie (Booking fees apply).

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