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 THE 2001-2002 NEIU STAGE CENTER THEATRE SEASON
Presented
October-November, 2001

Dancing at Lughnasa
by Brian Friel

Directed by Anna Antaramian

Director's Note_________________

Dancing at Lughnasa, though a play written about the Irish, appeals to everyone.  It is a sensitive play that pulls at the heartstrings of each of us because it shows the human spirit in its weakest and strongest moments.  As we watch the Mundy sisters struggle through each day, as we peak into their unfulfilled dreams and hopes, we struggle with them and for ourselves.  In each of our pasts there are sisters like the Mundy's.  They give to each other the courage and the forgiveness to go on.

The play has as its narrator, Michael, the son of Christine, the youngest Mundy, born “out of wedlock”.  Through his eyes we see each sister, Kate, Maggie, Agnes, Rose and Chris, highlighted by their most distinctive quality.  We see Father Jack, brother to the five sisters returned from Africa, and Gerry Evans, Michael's father, return briefly to Ballybeg.  And we hear the laughter and see the dancing that elevates life;  “I remember the kitchen throbbing with the beat of  Irish dance music… and my mother and her sisters  suddenly catching hands and dancing a spontaneous  stepdance and laughing….like excited schoolgirls”.

It is a celebration of life with its joys and with its sorrows.

Thank You's_____________________

Thank You to Peter Martin, Connie Speake, Phyllis Hurt, Stan Schmidt, Helen Johnson, Collette Borland, Joey Alaimo, Karol Bailey, Jeng Fong
                    _____________________
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. Chosen by Time magazine as one of the ten best plays for 1991, saying it was the "most elegant and rueful memory play since The Glass Menagerie."
Angela  DeMarco, Sandra Beyda, Peg O'Brien, Katherine Ayers, Tom Taylor, Ed Flynn, John Kelly Connolly
Widely regarded as Brian Friel's masterpiece, this extraordinary play is the story of five unmarried sisters, one with a young son, eking out their lives in a small village in Ireland in 1936. It is 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, colorful bursts of music from the radio, their only link to the romance and hope of the world at large. When the sisters finally dance to a wild, pagan Irish tune, they embody the core of the human spirit that cannot be vanquished by time or loss, or fully expressed in language.

"...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 nightfall." (NY Times.)

"This is no way a play to be missed. Simply a wondrous experience. Experience it." (NY Post)

THE STORY: The action of the play is told through the memory of the illegitimate son 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 but this haunting play is Friel's tribute to the spirit and valor of the past and its people. Dramatists Play Service, Inc.

Time: Act I, a warm day in early August 1936
            Act II, Three weeks later

Place: The home of the Mundy family, two miles outside of the village of Ballybeg, County Donegal, Ireland

Cast

Kathrine Ayers........Chris
Sandra Beyda.......Agnes
John Kelly Connolly......Michael
Angela DeMarco......Rose
Ed Flynn......Father Jack
J. Kingsford Goode......Maggie
Tom Taylor......Gerry
Peg O'Brien......Kate

Production Staff

Ann Censotti, Assistant Director
Bruce Powers, Stage Manager
Robert G. Smith, Set Designer
Tina Haglund, Costume Designer
Tim Davis, Light Designer
Jeng Fong, Sound Designer
Martin Aistrope, Dialect Coach
Anne Mullen, Step-Dancing Choreographer
Cathy Valadares, Carpenter/Set Dresser
Jeff Wade, Propmaster
Running Crew: Nada L. Steirer, Kim Crawford
Set Crew: Kim Crawford, Jana Anderson, Angela DeMarco
Ann Censotti, Photographer
Cybele Abrams, Publicity Coordinator
Michelle Lange, Box Office Manager
Jana Anderson, Assistant Box Office Manager


Angela DeMarco, Sandra Beyda, Katherine Ayers, J. Kingsford Goode
J. Kingsford Goode, Tom Taylor
Tom Taylor, Peg O'Brien, Katherine Ayes

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