Philadelphia, Here I Come!

by Brian Friel

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Gareth "Gar" O'Donnell (Gar Public)

There are two characters that comprise Gar, the protagonist of this play. The first is Gar Public, who wants to move from Ireland to America to start a new life. He is a nice young man and speaks to others with respect and politeness, but Gar Private is always around with a snarky comment or a deeper emotion to contend with.

Gareth "Gar" O'Donnell (Gar Private)

In Gar's words, Gar Private is his alter ego. He expresses Gar's secret thoughts, opinions, and wishes. He seems to have something to say about everyone and has a harder time saying goodbye to his family than Gar Public would like to let on.

S. B. O'Donnell

S. B. O'Donnell is Gar's father. He is completely closed off emotionally, which upsets Gar. Gar wants more than anything to see his father have some sort of reaction to his leaving, but S. B. seems incapable of this.


Madge is Gar and S. B.'s housekeeper. She has been with the family since Gar was a child, and she is more like a mother or aunt figure to Gar than a maid. S. B.'s closed-off nature bothers her too, and she tries her best to get the men to just admit that they love each other before it is too late.

Kate Doogan

Kate Doogan is the love of Gar's lifeā€”and one of the biggest reasons he is leaving Ireland. She loves Gar, but she married another man because Gar was too afraid to ask her father for her hand and didn't have enough financial stability.

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