Arís Theatre Presents Philadelphia, Here I Come!

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Aris Theatre

Kyle Brumley as Gar (Private), Benjamin Davis as Gar (Public),Theo Harness as S.B. O’Donnell. Photo By Safaa Sammander

“Philadelphia, Here I Come!” by Brian Friel will run for two weeks beginning September 26th at Georgia Public Broadcasting, Studio B, 260 14th Street NW Atlanta GA 30318.  (Preview on September 25th)

Tickets can be purchased at www.artful.ly/aris, or at the door, and are $15-$25.

About Arís:   Officially launched in June 2013, Arís was founded by nine talented and enthusiastic members of the Atlanta theatre community, with a collective total of over 200 years experience in the performing arts.  Arís is the Irish word for “Again!”  Like the phoenix that is the symbol of the city of Atlanta, Aris (say “ah-REESH”) means to bring back with dramatic fire the Celtic theatrical traditions once so richly enjoyed here. Use it as you would “Encore!”

We at Arís wish to explore, teach, promote and present the best of what is Celtic to the broadest possible audience in Atlanta and beyond. This encompasses the Irish, Welsh, Scottish and English artistry; theater, music, dance, storytelling, poetry and prose reading, in a way that is innovative, exciting and inclusive.

See more at www.aristheatre.org

About “Philadelphia, Here I Come!”:  In Ballybeg in Co. Donegal, Ireland, the night before he is to leave forever and emigrate to America, Gar O’Donnell’s life flashes before him as he contemplates what he will leave behind: his friends, his lost love, Katie, his beloved housekeeper, Madge, and his distant and aging father, S.B. ‘Screwballs’ O’Donnell.

In this now classic play, first produced exactly 50 years ago, Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come! examines the heartache of leaving home for good before coming to the new world.

About Brian Friel:  Brian Friel, largely considered modern Ireland’s leading playwright, was born to a schoolmaster and a postmistress in 1929. After working as a teacher in Derry for ten years, he married Anne Morrison and moved to Donegal to begin writing in earnest. His first significant theatrical success was Philadelphia, Here I Come, which debuted to rave reviews at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1964. He went on to penThe Loves of Cass McGuire,The Mundy Scheme,The Freedom of the City,Living Quarters,Faith Healer, an adaptation of Turgenev’s novelFathers and Sons, Dancing at Lughnasa (winner of three Tony Awards, a New York Drama Critics Circle award for Best Play and an Olivier Award for Best Play), and Wonderful Tennessee. In 1980 Mr. Friel joined Stephen Rea in founding the Field Day Theatre Company, where they first staged the Ewart-Biggs Peace Prize-winningTranslations, an adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters. The Company’s productions explored the middle ground between the secular culture of Northern Ireland and the more traditional rural world. Famously reclusive, he has stated, “I am married, have five children, live in the country, smoke too much, fish a bit, read a lot, worry a lot, get involved in sporadic causes and invariably regret the involvement, and hope that between now and my death I will have acquired a religion, a philosophy, a sense of life that will make the end less frightening than it appears to me at this moment.”

“Philadelphia, Here I Come!” is directed by Robert Shaw-Smith and features Theo Harness*, Kyle Brumley, Benjamin Davis, Lynne Ashe, Kyle Crew, Rial Ellsworth, Stephanie Friedman, Trevor Goble, Peter Hardy, Brandon Partrick, Chris Rushing, Mary Saville, Stuart Schleuse and Evan Weisman.

* denotes Member of Actors Equity Association

Robert Shaw-Smith (Director)

One of the founding members of Arís, Rob was a regular actor with Theatre Gael, playing in The Shadow of a Gunman, The Cripple of Inishmaan, and as Gar Private in Philadelphia, Here I Come!  He has also appeared with Theater Emory, Synchronicity, Essential Theater, as well as in productions at The Mint, and SFX Theatre in Dublin.

Theo Harness*  (S.B. O’Donnell)

  • One of the founders and a member of the original company of Actor’s Express;

  • A Suzi nomination for best featured actor for his performance as Teddy in Brian Friel’s Faith Healer;

  • Last seen as Norman Thayer Jr. in Stage Door Players production of On Golden Pond, and at Atlanta Lyric Theatre as Arvide Abernathy in Guys and Dolls.

Kyle Brumley (Gar – Private)

  • Kyle played Alan in the Suzi nominated production of Equus at Actor’s Express.

  • Fabrefaction Theatre – Shakespeare’s R&J (Juliet)

  • Georgia Ensemble Theatre – Camelot (Mordred)

  • 7Stages – The Navigator (Owen)

  • He recently assisted the presentation of Lord of the Flies at The Woodruff Arts Center’s Mi Casa, Your Casa installation, which fused music by The Ramones hits with a slimmed version of the classic story.

Benjamin Davis (Gar – Public)

  • Benjamin was last seen as Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show at Actor’s Express.

  • He was a recent graduate of the ’13-’14 Aurora Apprentice Company where he took the stage in Les Miserables, Christmas Canteen, Milo at the Movies, & The Cat in the Hat.

  • Ben has also toured with the Broadway Dreams Foundation under the direction of Annette Tanner, Stafford Arima, & Matt Lenz

Lynne Ashe (Madge

  • Mag in critically acclaimed 2003 Theatre Gael production of Beauty Queen

  • Studied at Shakespeare Institute/Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford in 1998

  • Movie – Wild Oats with Shirley MacLaine and Jessica Lange, scheduled for release June 2015

  • Local performances include work with Synchronicity, Theatre Gael, Aurora, Gainesville Theatre Alliance, and Process Theatre