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THEATER | "Philadelphia, Here I Come!"

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The prolific Irish dramatist Brian Friel's first international success was the bittersweet comedy "Philadelphia, Here I Come!" Produced in the UK in 1964 and on Broadway in 1966, it is still one of his most popular plays. It takes place the night before a young man named Gareth (or Gar) emigrates from his small Irish hometown to the United States. Friel gives us two Gars, played by two actors: Public ("the Gar that people see, talk to, and talk about") and Private ("the unseen man; the man within; the conscience"). The rest of the cast consists of the people in Gar's life, as he recalls them and says goodbye to them. Public Gareth interacts with his emotionally distant father, his housekeeper, and his ex-girlfriend Kate, pretty much as he always has; Private Gareth expresses his real feelings about them, and his reasons for leaving Ireland. The Irish Players opened "Philadelphia, Here I Come!" last weekend, directed by Jean Gordon Ryon. It runs through Sunday at MuCCC, with a repeat performance scheduled in May at Geva's Fielding Studio.

"Philadelphia, Here I Come!" continues Thursday, April 6, through Sunday, April 9, at MuCCC, 142 Atlantic Avenue. 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; 2 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $19; $14 for seniors over 65; $9 for those 25 and younger. muccc.org; rochestercommunityplayers.org.

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