Dancing at Lughnasa was directed by Claire Gleitman, Professor of English, and the cast will include three IC faculty members (Paula Murray Cole, Kathleen Mulligan, Kevin Murphy), two IC alumni (Jesse Bush and Max Lorn-Krause) and current students from the Department of Theatre Arts.
Dancing at Lughnasa takes place in 1936 in the fictional village of Ballybeg, just prior to the belated arrival of the Industrial Revolution on Ireland’s remote, northwest shores. The play focuses on five unmarried sisters, their eight-year old “love-child,” and their beloved uncle, who has just returned from a leper colony in Uganda where he spent 25 years as a missionary. As a backdrop, it is also the time of La Lughnasa, an ancient Celtic harvest festival that has been banished to the village’s back hills--as proper Irish Catholics ought not to be engaging in pagan ceremonies! Yet the pagan finds a way to creep into the sisters’ household, eliciting moments of exuberant passion that often find expression in dance. Indeed, Dancing at Lughnasa stages a clash between opposing forces – pagan and Catholic, old and new, explosive and restrained, joyful and “civilized” – in a play that is about the inevitability of change and the rituals that we draw upon to endure it. Dancing at Lughnasa, which won the Tony award for Best Play in 1992, is widely regarded as Friel’s masterpiece, and Friel himself is generally recognized as the greatest Irish playwright of our time.
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