Theatre West and Ray Bradbury's Pandemonium Theatre Company Present
or "To Eire is Human, To Forbid Divine"

by Ray Bradbury

A Comedic Irish Fable

Directed by

Produced by



Sept 7 thru 16, 2007
Fri, Sat at 8pm. Sun at 2pm

Call 323-851-7977
Buy Tickets On Line

Ticket Prices for Shows Sept 8-16
Premium tickets (1st 4 rows) $25;
Regular $20; Senior $17; Students $5

*Denotes Member of Actors Equity Association


Review by F. Kathleen Foley



The prolific Ray Bradbury recently received a special citation Pulitzer for his decades as an “unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.” But you’ll find no endangered Martians or evil carnies in “Falling Upward”, Bradbury’s “comedic Irish fable,” now playing at Theatre West. Inspired by the months Bradbury spent in Ireland collaborating with John Huston on the 1956 film “Moby Dick,” the play, produced by Theatre West in 2001, is a fond and comical look at Ireland as filtered through the microcosm of a rural Irish pub.

And what a pub! The boozy regulars are Heeber Finn’s view this watering hole as their second home, for obvious reasons. Jeff Rack’s set design, based on the 2001 set design by Daniel Keough and Joseph A. Altadonna, is so cozy and welcoming that want to jump onstage, belly up to the bar and order a pint. Indeed, alcohol figures prominently. When Garrity (Pat Harrington), the piece’s narrator, ponders the meaning of life, he concludes, “There’s booze and food…and you can forget the food.”
Heeber Finn’s is a boy’s only club, where no woman ventures and the blarney flows freely on tap, as does the wonderful Irish music – no jukebox required.

Small matter that certain cast members suffer obvious line lapses or that the narrative wanders like a will-o’-the-wisp in a marshy fen. At least three distinct and unrelated story lines, linked only because they happen in and around Heeber’s pub, make up the “plot”. But the emphasis is on atmosphere, and director Tim Byron Owen evokes this particular time and place with an attention to detail as loving as it is rigorous.

Among the large and able cast, James Horan is particularly effective as an itinerant Brit whose exotic entourage discombobulates the local menfolk, while Mik Sciba is a fittingly towering Heeber who could eject the most obstreperous customer with a flick of his meaty paw. If you long for Ireland but can’t get there, a bracing visit to Heeber’s may satisfy your craving.

Posted By Katie Barnes

Ensemble Cast Defies Gravity in “Falling Upward”- Bradbury Side-Steps Sci-Fi to Raise Curtain at Theater West

It would be obvious to anyone with a penchant for science fiction and fantasy that one supreme master of the genre is prolific writer and international book prizewinner, Ray Bradbury.

But who knew such a solid fixture of the literary scene for over 50 years would have any time to write for both the screen and theater, and have a deep love and connection to both forms? Surely the tale to be told (if meant for the stage) would suggest supernatural beings, unexplained phenomena and propose alternative realities to the one we call our own.

Instead, it was other-worldly to step inside Theater West on Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood and find the stage transformed into a very earthly, noisy Irish pub, complete with patronage downing pints and taking turns to belt out another loud Irish ballad.

For taking place this evening was the opening night production of “Falling Upward” by Mr. Ray Bradbury, hugely popular, writer-extraordinaire.

Reviving the comedy that set box office records at the Falcon Theatre in 2001, this night was particularly special as it included celebrations for the playwright’s recent 87th birthday. Sitting near the front of the stage for the performance, Bradbury seemed utterly delighted to be in the house to champion his actors’ first night, whilst being honored with a special award from the Pulitzer organization at curtain’s close.

It was many decades ago that Bradbury spent nine months in Ireland working on the script for Moby Dick for director, John Huston. The writer’s free time enjoying the local pub culture led him to be inspired by the regulars that he encountered at his favorite watering hole in the township.

The unique fellowship associated with drinking and pubs in Ireland was something that struck a chord with Bradbury. Thus the play’s story is largely character-driven and relates the adventures of the locals at Heeber Finn’s pub in County Kilcock.

Through dealing with curve balls thrown into the normal village routine by a band of foreigners (amongst other events), the men learn that they share more similarities than differences with those whose way of living they do not recognize.

The play is excellent- the cast have the accents, camaraderie and seamless execution of their parts that makes the pub environment palpable, leaving little between the audience’s imagination and the tangible experience within a “real” Irish stomping ground.

The first Ireland native to direct this play, Tim Byron Owen has magically blurred the line of comedy, fable and pantomime, setting the tone of the room so succinctly that one could be mistaken for thinking they are part of the action. Owen’s involvement with the Celtic Arts Theatre and production company formed with Nick Cassavetes has spawned multiple plays, and several films, evidence that such a successful collaboration of talent across the board is no accident.

Using a group of 24 seasoned theatre professionals in the all-male cast, the evening’s performance proved to be some of the finest two hours in LA theater. Yet the spotlight seemed built for Pat Harrington, one of the most gifted and generous performers seen to grace the stage.

Emmy, Golden Globe and Dramalogue award-winner Harrington is perhaps best known for his character Dwayne Schneider on "One Day at a Time" and Guido Panzini on "The Jack Parr Show." With credits that stretch from Broadway to the big screen, this marvelous craftsman provided the glue that cements this stellar production, slipping effortlessly between narrator and leading character with little more than a step out from one light and into another.

Scheduled for just six performances September 7-16, this must-see show is not just a chance to catch a bit of Bradbury but a view toward the Irish having more than a clue as to what makes life the very best.

By Mark Share


An Irish evening of brogues without the sadness, drink without disease, and Anglo-Irish relations without the troubles, that is what Ray Bradbury delights the audience with in his tales from a misty pub in the hinterlands of the distant isle. Bradbury, best known for his cautionary FARHEINHEIT 451 and for science fiction and supernatural tales, like THE ILLUSTRATED MAN collection, creates a loving postcard from his year in Ireland 50 years ago. There are songs beautifully sung and stories stirringly told. Representatives of the whole town, from the Lord to the idiot, the priest and the doctor, and all the commoners make their way to Heeber Finn's bar, one of 17 pubs in this town of a thousand.

The large cast appears remarkably at ease, from the songs and patter that greet the audience before the show and through a series of scenes from a village that comprise Act I and the one act about gay-Irish relations of all things - that is Act II. The scene that concludes Act I, concerning the funeral of the local Lord, rises to the best of Bradbury's work in its suspenseful presentation of ordinary people faced with a situation that threatens to take them out of their humanity and ends with a twist one of Bradbury's most clever that is both happy and awful at the same time. Throughout, the language is as rich as one would hope and expect in a play celebrating all things Irish; we are told that in the history of Heeber Finn's bar, George Bernard Shaw and Norman Mailer have been kicked out for not talking enough.

Audiences will be pleased to see Pat Harrington, the veteran and awarded actor who is best known from TV's ONE DAY AT A TIME, as the pub denizen who can speak to the audience. Other standouts include Mik Scriba as Heeber Finn, shepherding his patrons through the turns of their lives as an "annex to the Church," and Walter Beery as Father Leary mixing the proper proportions of dominance, warmth, and provincialism. (There are no women in the pub.)

On opening night, Ray Bradbury himself was present for his 87th birthday. An icon who has made LA his home while never learning to drive, and who is a charming and disarming public speaker, told the audience to applauded agreement that theater is better than movies, because in movies all they care about is getting money, and in the theater all we care about is getting love. Bradbury and the company, under Tim Byron Owen's fluid direction, bestows an abundance of love through the script and the performances, and the audience's endless laughter and clapping showed that the love was received and returned.


Falling Upward

Around 1956, director John Huston dispatched a sci-fi scribbler and teleplay writer in his mid-thirties to Ireland to write a screenplay adapting Herman Melville’s immortal classic Moby Dick. It should be noted that the great American novel is mostly set in the South Seas, but Huston’s attachment to Ireland probably accounts for shooting much of his Moby Dick there. (And of course, the best way to travel and/or live abroad is at somebody else’s expense – preferably a movie studio’s.)

Huston had led much of Hollywood’s resistance to the gathering House Un-American Activities Committee inquisition of La-La-Land leftists and the looming blacklist exactly 60 years, and I venture to guess that this contributed to Huston’s self-imposed exile in the Emerald Isle. And with its mention of Bikini atoll – which, if memory serves, Melville does not refer to in his 1851 novel -- Huston’s Moby Dick was a comment on the Cold War, with Ahab’s (portrayed with much gusto by Gregory Peck) unholy obsession with the great white whale symbolizing nuclear testing.

In any case, Huston’s last directorial effort, his 1987 adaptation of James Joyce’s The Dead, was the final story in Joyce’s Dubliners. And the first full-length play by Ray Bradbury -- that science fiction and TV writer Huston had imported (quite against his will) to Ireland in the mid-1950s – is likewise set in the Emerald Isle. At the September 7 premiere of Falling Upward, Bradbury told a packed crowd at Theatre West near Universal City that this play grew out of his sojourn to Ireland. Calling himself “Sean O’Casey’s bastard son,” Bradbury revealed how that playwright, Oscar Wilde, the celebrated Abbey Theatre (during the 1930s the Abbey Players included a boy wonder by the name of Orson Welles) and Irish pub culture influenced him.

To Upward’s colorful cast of characters, Dubliners are city slickers. The cosmos of these boyos extends no farther than the village green of their County Kilcock township, and most of the play’s action takes place in a public house. Heeber Finn’s pub is to this play what the Mississippi River is to Huck Finn. I’ve never been to Ireland (I guess I just don’t have the luck of the Irish), but Jeff Rack’s convincing set design literally sets the stage with a convincing rendering of what I’d imagine an Emerald Isle pub looks like, down to the pheasant trophy adorning a wall. The all male cast’s singing and musical interlude preceding the curtain’s figurative rise certainly sets the mood – talk about “getting into character”! (Infinitely superior to the endless commercials ticket buyers “pay” for and are bombarded with at movie theatres. As Bradbury observed at the premiere: “Theatre is better than films. Film people want money. I don’t want money, I want love.”)

The narrator Garrity’s (Emmy and Golden Globe veteran Pat Harrington), who has been kissed by the Blarney stone, opens Falling Upward with witty, pithy observations about the foibles of his countrymen and pub-mates. There is much clever banter in brogues as the towering Finn (I kid thee not dear reader, this prototypical Irishman is actually portrayed by a TV/theatre actor named Mik (Mik Scribay) serves up foamy brewskies and the harder stuff to the boyos. There is some action involving an accident, the police and a quite clever close to the first act, as the boyos devise a hilariously brilliant scheme to consume rare vintage wines that somehow manages to fulfill the stipulations of a townsman’s curmudgeonly will.

Befitting a renowned author of sci-fi, act two seems to fall from outer space – it is almost a completely different play, albeit with many of the same characters. As the second act begins, an entourage of sissy, swishy swashbuckling tourists from Sicily descend upon County Kilcock and take up dubious residence en suite at the village inn, which I believe is called the Royal Hyperion Hotel. The multi-culti effeminate travelers clad in kaftans, dashikis and berets are led with great panache by David Snell-Orkney (theatre thespian James Horan), and seem headed on a collision course with the macho denizens of Heeber Finn’s. Like Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, Upwards features culture clash. But the wise and wizened Garrity intervenes, pointing out to the pub’s all-male bonding group the similarities between the boyos and their apparently gay visitors.

Bradbury adapted Melville’s novel featuring the harpooning of a whale named Moby Dick, while his Upward is set in a place named Kilcock. There is a heavy dose of homoeroticism in this tale brought to life by an all-male cast of more than 20 actors. Written more than 40 years ago, despite some limp-wrist, “fairy” stereotyping, Bradbury may have been way ahead of his time in tackling this subject in the Irish Chronicles.

I enjoyed the wit and wisdom, as well as its music and dancing, of Falling Upward, which is deftly directed by Tim Byron Owen. The cast is quite good, but too large to mention all of its members here, although I’d like to single out the aptly named Walter Beery as Father Leary, who -- like his pub-besotted parishioners -- enjoys imbibing.

But the Theatre West space somewhat undoes the play. The theatre was quite stuffy, and had this production taken place during L.A.’s recent heat wave, I fear the temperature would have suggested the title of Bradbury’s most famous work, Fahrenheit 451 – the temperature books melt at. In addition, some attendees at the premiere groused that it was hard to hear and follow the dialogue (rendered largely in brogues), so I suggest sitting near the front as I did in this open seating theatre, where I didn’t have this problem.

After the curtain call, a certificate of recognition by Mayor Villaraigosa was read by a Theatre West producer to Bradbury and the appreciative crowd. As it was recently the author's 87th birthday – around one year for every two seats in the theatre – the crowd sang “Happy Birthday,” and a reception featuring a sumptuous feast ensued. The wheelchair-bound Bradbury signed copies of his latest book, Now and Forever.

May you – and the public – enjoy at least another 87 years of your vivid imagination, Ray!


Your Low-Tek NewsTM
Week of September 10th, 2007
Vol. 12-No. 37
Rich Borowy


Theatre West presents the return of Ray Bradbury's FALLING UPWARD, or "To Eire is Human, To Forbid Divine", a comedy of the ins and outs taking place at a local "public house" located in a small Irish village.

The setting is Heeber Finn's Pub, located in County Kilcock. There, one will find a group of the regular gents that frequent the place, almost making this establishment a second home to all that stay. Pat Harrington plays Garrity, the leader of the pack. Actually, nobody really made him a leader, but it just seems that way. He narrates some of the little misadventures that go on in and around the tavern. Of course, every one of these working class lads must have a nip or two, just for that good Irish luck.
This charming tale, first presented at Theatre West in 2001, is Ray's loving tribute to the Emerald Isle; a place he visited and lived in while writing the screenplay for John Houston's epic film Moby Dick in the early 1950's. The passion of Ireland never left him and still speaks about this land as if it was an old friend. Although there isn't a plot per se, consisting of a few short stories woven in, it makes this production that is green as the mother country, and black as a tall glass of Guiness. In other words, it's very "colorful", it's full of wit, charm, and has plenty of life-now and for the hereafter!
A huge ensemble cast makes up this production, featuring (in alphabetical order), Atotesfaye Abdu-Hakim, Abbott Alxander, Walter Beery, David Evans Brant, William Brunold, Roger Cruz, Tom Debone, Donald Giddings, Michael Gough, Austin Grehan, Matthew Hoffman, James Horan, Michael Lagrias, Robert W. Laur, Timothy Martin, Donald Moore, Ken O'Malley, Christian Reeve, Christian Rozak, Mik Scriba, and Phillip Sokoloff. All perform under the stage direction by Tim Bryon Owen.
Also a special note to Jeff Rack's set design, based on a design by Daniel Keough and Joseph A. Altadonna, that makes up Hebber Finn's pub, bring the scene and setting as cozy and warm as the play itself.

After experiencing FALLING UPWARD, one will wish that they too were Irish! Even if one really had a li'l Irish in 'em, that is all the better! Another round is ready and waiting!

Review by Carol Kaufman Segal

Falling Upward
Or, "To Eire is Human, To Forbid Divine"

Theatre West in Los Angeles celebrated the award-winning playwright Ray Bradbury’s 87th birthday Sept. 7th, with the opening of his play, Falling Upward. Truthfully, the play is about nothing, but it has so much charm, who cares? It takes place in Ireland in the 1950’s where we find a gathering of men sitting around Heeber Finn’s Pub singing Irish songs and telling stories. We become involved as Garrity (Pat Harrington) speaks directly to the audience. He tells us that "we are in a place where anything can happen, and it always does." But nothing ever really happens in this play. It is just good fun because the actors are so at home in their characterizations, there is humor in the production and it is just plain good entertainment.

Mike Scriba, as Heeber Finn, is the ideal Irish bartender and Harrington is the ultimate audience confidante. The entire company is perfectly cast, each one very realistic, as they delight us with their perfect Irish brogues, their singing of Irish folk tunes, and even a wee bit of an Irish jig. They include Abbott Alexander, Walter Beery, David Evans Brandt, William Brunold, Roger Cruz, Tom Debone, Michael Gough, Austin Grehan, Matthew Hoffman, James Horan, Robert W. Laur, Donald Moore, Ken O’Malley, Matt Sklar, Phil Sokoloff and Timothy Martin.

The village is visited by a group of men who appear completely out-of-place with the men who frequent the pub. At first, the Irish do not make them feel welcome, but eventually, they discover that they have much in common, and before the visitors leave, they are treated in a friendly manner and bid a fond farewell. These actors include Atotesfaye Abdu-Hakim, Donald E. Giddings, Michael Lagrinas, Christian Reeve and Christian Rozakis.

Falling Upward is directed by Tim Byron Owen, produced by Charlie Mount. The pub set, by Jeff Rack, is absolutely fantastic.


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Theatre West member and playwright Ray Bradbury was honored this spring with a Special Award from the Pulitzer organization (For details, go to . Now, in celebration, Theatre West is reviving its Pulitzer honoree"s comedy "Falling Upward." Last produced by Theatre West in 2001, it moved from there to the Falcon Theatre, where it set then-records at the box office.

Five decades ago, Ray spent nine months in Ireland working on the screenplay for "Moby Dick" for director John Huston. Ray"s nights were spent soaking up the local pub culture. Upon returning to America, he was moved to write about the characters he met at his favorite pub, which became the impetus for his book "Green Shadows, White Whale," and later the play, which debuted in 1988 at the Melrose Theatre.

"Falling Upward" relates the adventures of the regulars at Heeber Finn"s pub in County Kilcock. The boyos field an entry in a sprinting competition, assist the victim of a traffic collision, scheme to gain control of the contents of a celebrated wine cellar, confront a small but somewhat flamboyant band of travelers arriving from Sicily (with whom they are brought to understand that they share more similarities than differences), and generally enjoy the unique fellowship that a pub in Ireland facilitates.

The boyos are generally working-class fellows (who seem to have lots of time to spend at the pub), and defer to Finn, who has provided this haven for them. Their spiritual advisor is Father Leary, who occasionally stops in for a nip. They have an unofficial leader, Garrity.

In this new production, Garrity is portrayed by Pat Harrington, Jr. The star of Broadway, movies and regional theatre is best known and loved by millions for his comic creations on television, including Dwayne Schneider on "One Day At A Time" and Guido Panzini on "The Jack Paar Show" (57 guest appearances). He was also a regular with Steve Allen, "The Danny Thomas Show" and "Owen Marshall: Counselor At Law." His films include "Easy Come, Easy Go" (with Elvis), "Move, Over, Darling," "The President"s Analyst" and "The Candidate." His L.A. theatre credits include "The House of Blue Leaves," "Love Letters," "Blackout," "The Pajama Game," and at Theatre West, "Harrington and Storm." He is the recipient of the Emmy®, Golden Globe and Drama-Logue Awards.
Also in the new cast of "Falling Upward" will be Abbott Alexander, Walter Beery, Roger Cruz, Matthew Hoffman, Robert W. Laur, Donald Moore, Matt Ritchey and Philip Sokoloff.

Tim Byron Owen directs. He promises a fresh perspective for "Falling Upward" as the first Irishman to direct this play, which Bradbury subtitled "To Eire Is Human, To Forbid Divine," referring to it as "a comedic Irish fable."

Owen is a founding member and former board president of The Celtic Arts Center Theater. He directed the acclaimed "Runt" with Michael Philip Edwards, lauded in L.A. and a prize-winner in Edinburgh. Tim also helmed the international hit "A Night In November," which played locally at Celtic Arts Center and the Falcon Theatre, winning its star Marty Maguire an L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award. Owen founded the production company Sarah Fulton Group with Nick Cassavetes, which has produced multiple plays and two films, the Emmy-winning "Where"s Jo?" and "A Far Cry From a Distant Land." Tim directed "Fighting Words," about Welsh boxer Johnny Owen, which ran twice at the Celtic Arts Center and also in Wales, with a feature film about Johnny Owen in the works.
"Falling Upward" is produced by Charlie Mount, the Producing Director of the Chestnuts Theatre program at Theatre West for which Mr. Mount produced the 50th anniversary production of "Requiem For a Heavyweight," as well as the critically acclaimed productions of "The Lion in Winter" and "Dancing at Lughnasa."

Playwright Ray Bradbury has won many national and international literary awards and remains one of the most popular writers of modern times, with over 30 books and 600 short stories to his credit, as well as numerous plays produced over a span of 43 years, some of them produced under his own banner, Ray Bradbury"s Pandemonium Theatre Company. Its recent "Ray Bradbury"s Green Town" played a sold-out engagement at Fremont Centre Theatre, and he plans to return there this October with a new Halloween show. Acclaimed as a master of science fiction, he refers to himself as a writer of fantasy. His newest book, "Now and Forever," is due for publication on August 22, 2007, his 87th birthday.

Enjoy the warmth, wit and humor of America"s beloved storyteller with Ray Bradbury"s "Falling Upward."









"...director Tim Byron Owen and his able cast create a microcosm so welcoming and lovingly detailed that we want to belly up to the bar and join in the fun."
The LA Times

"Bradbury and the company, under Tim Byron Owen's fluid direction, bestows an abundance of love through the script and the performances, and the audience's endless laughter and clapping showed that the love was received and returned."
Eye Spy LA



Come Celebrate Ray Bradbury's 87th Birthday! September 7th, 2007. $87 per couple

Congratulations to Ray Bradbury on his 2007 Pulitzer Prize Citation

"A special citation to Ray Bradbury for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy."


Set Design by Jeff Rack
(Based on a 2001 Set Design by Joseph A. Altadonna)

Lights designed by Peter Strauss

Costumes by Rachelle Luffy

Sound Designed by Reid Woodbury

Assistant Director - David Brandt

Publicity: Phil Sokoloff

Theatre West Executive Director - John Gallogly

Photos by Charlie Mount

Poster Design by Charlie Mount

Illustration by Charles Brag


Ray Bradbury, American novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and poet, was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. He graduated from a Los Angeles high school in 1938. Although his formal education ended there, he became a "student of life, selling newspapers on L.A. street corners from 1938 to 1942, spending his nights in the public library and his days at the typewriter. He became a full-time writer in 1943, and contributed numerous short stories to periodicals before publishing a collection of them, Dark Carnival, in 1947.

His reputation as a writer of courage and vision was established with the publication of The Martian Chronicles in 1950, which describes the first attempts of Earth people to conquer and colonize Mars, and the unintended consequences. Next came The Illustrated Man and then, in 1953, Fahrenheit 451, which many consider to be Bradbury's masterpiece, a scathing indictment of censorship set in a future world where the written word is forbidden. In an attempt to salvage their history and culture, a group of rebels memorize entire works of literature and philosophy as their books are burned by the totalitarian state. Other works include The October Country, Dandelion Wine, A Medicine for Melancholy, Something Wicked This Way Comes, I Sing the Body Electric!, Quicker Than the Eye, and Driving Blind. In all, Bradbury has published more than thirty books, close to 600 short stories, and numerous poems, essays, and plays. His short stories have appeared in more than 1,000 school curriculum "recommended reading" anthologies.

Ray Bradbury's work has been included in four Best American Short Story collections. He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. In November 2000, the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters was conferred upon Mr. Bradbury at the 2000 National Book Awards Ceremony in New York City.

Ray Bradbury has never confined his vision to the purely literary. He has been nominated for an Academy Award (for his animated film Icarus Montgolfier Wright), and has won an Emmy Award (for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree). He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's Ray Bradbury Theater. He was the creative consultant on the United States Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair. In 1982 he created the interior metaphors for the Spaceship Earth display at Epcot Center, Disney World, and later contributed to the conception of the Orbitron space ride at Euro-Disney, France.

Married since 1947, Mr. Bradbury and his wife Maggie lived in Los Angeles with their numerous cats. Together, they raised four daughters and had eight grandchildren. Sadly, Maggie passed away in November of 2003.

On the occasion of his 80th birthday in August 2000, Bradbury said, "The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was twelve. In any event, here I am, eighty years old, feeling no different, full of a great sense of joy, and glad for the long life that has been allowed me. I have good plans for the next ten or twenty years, and I hope you'll come along."

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