I’ve written quite a bit in this space about Brian Friel’s 1964 play Philadelphia, Here I Come! Currently being revived off Broadway by the Irish Repertory Theatre, it’s the raucously funny, intensely poignant story of an angry young Irishman, his talkative alter ego, and the aging, uncommunicative father who can’t put his feelings for his son into words.
If you live too far from New York to see the Irish Rep’s superlative production, there’s an alternative: Friel adapted his play for the screen in 1975, and the film version will be telecast Sunday, September 18, at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Trio. The effect is very different from that of the stage play: film, being an essentially realistic medium, lends itself less well to the portrayal of such fantastic devices as an imaginary alter ego visible only to the audience. Still, the essence of the play remains intact, and the fact that the film was shot on location in Ireland lends a different kind of “authenticity” to the results.