[PDF / Epub] ★ Dancing at Lughnasa: A Play ✈ Brian Friel – Iphoneleaks.co.uk

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About the Author: Brian Friel

Brian Friel is a playwright and, more recently, director of his own works from Ireland who now resides in County Donegal.

Friel was born in Omagh County Tyrone, the son of Patrick "Paddy" Friel, a primary school teacher and later a borough councillor in Derry, and Mary McLoone, postmistress of Glenties, County Donegal (Ulf Dantanus provides the most detail regarding Friel's parents and grandparents

10 thoughts on “Dancing at Lughnasa: A Play

  1. says:

    *** Edited on 10-2-18, due to missing content that disappeared when I posted my review. I rewrote partial sentences to the best of my memory.


    I read this wonderful play in one sitting, today, before going to the theatre tonight to see the performance with a friend. I had seen it performed once before, but after 20+ years, needed a refresher.

    Reading through the excellent script was enticing... imagining the characters, and how each actor would portray a character distinctly. The personalities of the Mundy family are all unique, from strict-and-staid but very caring Kate, to quiet Agnes who has a wild streak regarding dancing; from irrepressible Maggie with her riddles (and high spirited optimism blended with painful sadness) to strong Christina, balancing the burdens of single motherhood with hope. There is special Rose, romantic and misguided, and Father Jack, their missionary brother returned from decades in Africa, dealing with his own personal challenges. There is Jerry, the father of Christina's child, and the mystery of his sudden appearances and departures.

    The play itself is bittersweet, some would say nostalgic. In my twenties, I viewed the play more lightly, enjoying the 1930s setting in County Donegal, Ireland, and the complicated family dynamics, through the lens of a younger woman. In my fifties, I now think the tone is stronger than that: immense sadness coupled with occasional humor, and brief bursts of pure joyfulness.

    As an educator, when teaching beginning readers, perhaps the most important facet to me after basic skills were in place, was teaching the reader to make a connection to the text. Look for the thing that draws you into the story and focus on that. We are all changed by reading something that we truly enjoy. There are many, many things in this script to admire, but I do believe that every reader will find her or his own connection to it in a unique way.

    For those interested: The evening performance took place at Everyman Theater, in Baltimore, Maryland. The staging was magnificent- realistic down to every detail. Costumes were period appropriate, but subtle: they did not take away from our focus on the characters' trials and tribulations. The acting was sublime! Riveting, with perfect pacing that kept us very engaged, even during heavily-emotional scenes. Scenes with singing, and especially the main dancing scene, were bursting with energy and talent. My heart soared with the sisters! Christina's son, the character Michael - now a grown man - narrated the events of his past with a combination of wisdom and grief, showing us his memories as the story unfolded onstage. I definitely recommend this current performance in my hometown.

    Even more, I recommend reading this incredible play, and finding your own personal connection to it.

  2. says:

    The reason for me picking up and reading Dancing at Lughnasa today was the finale to a few months of me saying "I need to read some work by Friel". I have been aware of Friel for a long time yet somehow I never came across an apt opportunity to read him, which accompanies my mission to read all of the Irish literary giants. Also, I felt somewhat uneducated and embarrassed not knowing his work when his death occurred a few months ago. Alas, this was all solved by my need to kill a few hours at University today, and with no book with me and no desire continue the research I was doing, I went to the bookshop. It was here I found it, spotting the pink cover, and subsequently made the leap of spending eleven euro for seventy pages of ink and paper. It was worth it.

    Friel's depictions of life and culture is very accurate, not only touching on some of the more idiosyncratic traditions of rural Ireland but also gives insight into the more troubling ideals of the time. The images of the sisters dancing, brought to life by Friel's masterful writing, is moving, vivid and light. He creates a feeling of place such that it expands beyond the restrictions of the stage. You also see the small rural community on the grassy hills of Donegal. There is sparkle and warm feeling to the play, although this is not always the case. Periods of conflict are countered by spontaneous bouts of dancing and glee. Even with the scenes of clear enjoyment, the five sisters are close, caring, yet troubled by many explored and unmentioned thoughts. Having an interest in all things Celtic, I also thoroughly enjoyed the juxtaposition of both Christianity and Paganism.

    Above all, it feels real. That is what I most love about it.

  3. says:

    Rather melancholy look at the passing of a way of life through a single family. (view spoiler)

  4. says:

    A simple, short and moving play. The five Mundy sisters are shown on two days three weeks apart, with a narrative about their life afterwards. They irritate each other, misunderstand each other, chide each other and love each other, through lifes trials and disappointments - but life slowly drags them down.

    Read July 2014, and July 15

  5. says:

    A very interesting and beautiful story.

  6. says:

    My first encounter with Dancing at Lughnasa was a performance at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.. The cast was lead by the incomparable Tana Hicken as Kate. How we audience members remained in our seats during the dance scene still amazes me.

    Of course, plays are meant to be seen. The term, "first reading," refers to a groups of actors seated together reading the play aloud.

    Still, reading the words of a playwrite alone, following the stage directions, checking the props list, learning how the playwrite describes each character, and, best of all, getting to play all the parts, is a pleasure.

    Fried has give us a moment in time when the hard-fought battle between Christianity and Paganism is stirring again. This time, the ancient desire to dance, to break out from a carefully regulated life, The Magic that lives in the ether, that will one day become first the Ethernet and then the Internet, comes into the house in the body of a small, not-always-reliable little box called a radio.

    By the end of the play, the spirits have flown.

  7. says:

    An Irish memory play principally about five unmarried sisters who live together in the north of Ireland during the mid-1930s. It is a story haunted by empire and by the precarious survival of independent women as Ireland’s industrial base is built. It is gutting to watch the sisters attempting to hold on to hope, joy, whimsy, and carefree moments against what amounts to pre-ordained disaster.

    This is a beautiful play on the stage, but I give it 3 stars for being much less thrilling on the page (and this is, after all, a reading review). It still gives me heartache, though.

    (First encountered this play in a brilliant stage production at the Cloverdale Playhouse in Montgomery, Alabama. 2019).

  8. says:

    I don't know why I liked this play so much. The setting just really appealed to me.

  9. says:

    Honestly, I enjoyed this play. The Mundy sisters are lowkey iconic and Friel truly popped off with Gerry. The movie adaptation did not do this justice, however to this day, father jack still scares me. Would 9/10 recommend, as it’s essentially an Irish ‘of mice and men’

  10. says:

    I'm partial to Dancing at Lughnasa because two of my very good friends and my future husband performed it as a one act in high school. Nonetheless, it's a beautiful play and I highly recommend you read it or find the movie with Meryl Streep. But you won't have my sweet memories of the curly headed boy in the narrating role.

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