Irish Theatre of Chicago returns with Molly Sweeney, their first touring production on the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Presenting Series in two years. Inspired by Oliver Sacks’ essay “To See and Not See,” Tony Award-winning Irish playwright Brian Friel constructed a subtly complex tale from the perspectives of three central characters: Molly, Frank, and the surgeon Mr. Rice, a man who values his skills above his patients. Performances, spoken in dialect, run nightly March 17–19 at 7:30 p.m. in the black box Phibin Studio Theatre.
With 1994’s Molly Sweeney, Friel (1929–2015) wrote a beautifully poignant, striking drama centered on carefully interwoven monologues shared through direct address to the audience. First, there is Molly, a woman blind since infancy who is self-assured, confident, and at one with her world despite her inability to see. Then, her enthusiastic and adventurous husband Frank sees an opportunity to have Molly’s sight partially restored by Mr. Rice, a once-famous ophthalmologist. The two men convince Molly to take the plunge into an unknown frontier and, in doing so, change the course of their lives, most devastatingly so for Molly, forever.
Siiri Scott directs Molly Sweeney with stage management by Jen Bukovsky, production management by Patrick Starner, technical direction by Evan Sposato, dialect design by Elise Kauzlaric, sound design by Agata Pacia, set design by Jessie Baldinger, costume design by Louise “Scout” Gregory, and lighting design by Smooch Medina.
About the Team
- Siiri Scott
- Carolyn Kruse
- Matthew Isler
- Robert Kauzlaric
Siiri Scott is the Head of Acting and Directing at the University of Notre Dame in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre. After over 25 years in the classroom and three teaching awards, she trains advanced students in Acting, Voice, Dialect, and Movement and teaches international masterclasses on acting pedagogy. An actor and director, she has worked in regional theater and television in Chicago, Milwaukee, Seattle, and Los Angeles.
Siiri is a member of two theater companies and performs Japanese Noh with Theatre Nohgaku and directs/produces with Irish Theatre of Chicago. She directed the Jeff-nominated production of My Brilliant Divorce, The Weir, and Pineapple for ITC, and she produced the Notre Dame tours for the company. A classically trained performer, she keeps herself in the game as a voice actor and works on both commercials, installations, and educational software, and is an award-winning narrator of over 80 audiobooks. In 2019, Siiri’s chapter, “Vulnerability in Performance,” appeared in The Pedagogy of Vulnerability. Currently, she is co-editing an anthology for Routledge, Stanislavsky and Race, which examines inclusivity and equity in the training and application of the Stanislavsky System in the U.S. and abroad.
Carolyn Kruse is delighted to have this opportunity to portray Friel’s Molly Sweeney after having the pleasure of performing in both Dancing at Lughnasa and Faith Healer. Carolyn resides in Chicago and has performed several productions with Irish Theatre of Chicago, where she is a proud Ensemble member.
Additionally, Carolyn has worked with the following theater companies: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Next Theatre, The Artistic Home, The Hypocrites, Strawdog Theatre, Profiles, Remy Bumppo, Theo Ubique, Wildclaw, New Leaf Theatre, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Redtwist, Brown County Playhouse, Tibbits Opera House and the Strange Tree Group (Non-Equity Jeff Award – Best Ensemble for King Phycus; where she originated the role of Macbetty/Nurse.) Other credits include Chicago P.D. (NBC), The Onion Fusion Election Special (The Onion/Fusion), a principal role in the award-winning short film Fertile Myrtle, supporting roles in the short films: Sweet Child and The Dame with No Name (MoFest 48 hour Film Festival 2011 Winner). Carolyn is also a director, a commercial voice-over artist, and represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.
Matthew Isler is proud to be a part of this production of Molly Sweeney. Matt’s past theater credits include Romeo and Juliet, Red and Green, Mishap!, City of Dreadful Night and Noises Off. With the ITC, Matt has performed in The Seafarer, Lay Me Down Softly, The White Road, In a Little World Of Our Own, The Weir, and Pineapple. Matthew co-directed Akvavit Theatre’s production of They Died Where They Lied.
His film and television credits include NBC’s Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, and Tasmanian Tiger. From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Matt studied theater at Indiana University and is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory Program. Matthew is represented by Paonessa Talent and would like to extend thanks to Christoph Schadèr and Michael J. Hudecek for their support. As ever, Matthew needs to thank his family for the love and encouragement that he has always received from them.
Robert Kauzlaric is delighted to return to DPAC, where he was previously seen in Irish Theatre of Chicago’s productions of Mojo Mickybo and Doubt. He has been a company member with ITC since 2006, where he has also appeared in A Whistle in the Dark, War, Our Father, and In a Little World of Our Own. Regional acting credits include King Richard in Richard II, the Fool in King Lear (Wilde Award: Best Performance), and Brutus in Julius Caesar with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival; nearly 20 productions with Chicago’s Lifeline Theatre, including Around the World in 80 Days, A Room with a View, and Neverwhere; as well as work with Lakeside Shakespeare, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Theatre at the Center, Strawdog Theatre, City Lit, and others.
Also a playwright and director, Robert has written 15 theatrical adaptations that have been performed all across the U.S. and Canada (as well as in Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America); he directed ITC’s world premiere production of Karen Tarjan’s The White Road (Jeff Award nomination: Best Production); and he has directed at eight seasons of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, winning five Wilde Awards.