|Monday 25th November 8pm|
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Freedom of the City by Brian Friel
Freedom of the City is a play by the Irish playwright Brian Friel first produced in 1973. Set in Derry 1970, the play interweaves the 'present' - a hearing into the deaths of three unarmed citizens at the hands of the security forces, the reaction of the population shown by the character of the Balladeer and flashbacks to the main story - the final hours of the lives of three peaceful marchers who accidentally stumble into the Mayor's parlour after the march is hit by smoke and tear gas. Most of the action revolves around the unwinding personal stories of the three as they attempt to wait out the violence so they can go home only to find that they are now the centre of the action. Lily, a 43-year-old mother of eleven, Michael, a 22-year-old man (unemployed), and 'Skinner', 21 and unemployed (signs himself as Freeman of the City in the Visitor's Book), are the antiheroes, who perish as British soldiers shoot them in cold blood when they surrender.
The ultimate irony is that the judge finds the security forces didn't act punitively, that Lily and Michael were armed according to non-existent witnesses and that Skinner was the innocent instead of the angry young man who despite his background wanted a free Ireland.
Brian Patrick Friel (1929- 2015))was an Irish dramatist, short story writer and founder of the Field Day Theatre Company. He had been considered one of the greatest living English-language dramatists. He has been likened to an "Irish Chekhov" and described as "the universally accented voice of Ireland"