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Dancing at Lughnasa

Dancing at Lughnasa
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Brian Friel
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 86
Pub. Date: 1993
ISBN-10: 0822213028
ISBN-13: 9780822213024
Cast Size: 5 women, 3 men

About the Play:

Dancing at Lughnasa was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

Winner of the 1992 Tony Award for Best Play, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Broadway Play and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play.

Dancing at Lughnasa is a full-length drama by Brian Friel. Five unmarried Irish sisters, who escape their drab lives by dancing to music on their new radio, are recalled by the adult son of one of the women. Chosen by Time magazine as one of the ten best plays for 1991, saying it is "The most elegant and rueful memory play since The Glass Menagerie."

Dancing at Lughnasa is the story of five unmarried sisters eking out their lives in a small village in Ireland in l936. We meet them at the time of the festival of Lughnasa, which celebrates the pagan god of the harvest with drunken revelry and dancing. Their spare existence is interrupted by brief, colourful bursts of music from the radio, their only link to the romance and hope of the world at large. The action of the play is told through the memory of the illegitimate son of one of the sisters as he remembers the five women who raised him, his mother and four maiden aunts. He is only seven in 1936, the year his elderly uncle, a priest, returns after serving for twenty-five years as a missionary in a Ugandan leper colony. For the young boy, two other disturbances occur that summer. The sisters acquire their first radio, whose music transforms them from correct Catholic women to shrieking, stomping banshees in their own kitchen. And he meets his father for the first time, a charming Welsh drifter who strolls up the lane and sweeps his mother away in an elegant dance across the fields. From these small events spring the cracks that destroy the foundation of the family forever. Widely regarded as Brian Friel's masterpiece, this haunting play is Friel's tribute to the spirit and valour of the past.

Dancing at Lughnasa premiered 1990 at the Abbey Theatre, also known as the National Theatre of Ireland, and was produced in Dublin during five of the ten subsequent years. Since then it transferred to London's National Theatre in 1991, winning the Olivier Award for Best Play, and subsequently to Broadway's Plymouth Theatre where it won the Tony Award for Best Play as well as a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Play, and has been mounted by high schools, colleges, and community theatres.

Cast: 5 women, 3 men

What people say:

"…this play does exactly what theater was born to do, carrying both its characters and audience aloft on those waves of distant music and ecstatic release that, in defiance of all language and logic, let us dance and dream just before night must fall." — The New York Times

"This is no way a play to be missed — simply a wondrous experience. Experience it." — New York Post

About the Playwright:

Brian Friel (1929-2015) was an Irish dramatist, theatre director and author. One of Ireland's greatest playwrights, he was a leading voice on stages on both sides of the Atlantic. He received his college education in Derry, Maynooth and Belfast and taught at various schools in and around Derry from 1950 to 1960. Often described as the "Irish Chekhov," he has penned more than 30 plays in a career spanning six decades.

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