WALLINGFORD-BASED Sinodun Players’ next production is Dancing At Lughnasa, a moving, poignant and evocative play by Irish dramatist Brian Friel.
It is set in rural Donegal in the late summer of 1936 during harvest time when celebrations are afoot for the Festival of Lughnasa.
Friel’s award-winning drama takes an affectionate glimpse into the everyday life of the impoverished Mundy family living a hand-to-mouth existence in rural Donegal. It has been singled out in The Times as one of the Top 20 must-see plays.
Life is a struggle for the household of five unmarried sisters and Michael, the seven-year-old illegitimate son of the youngest. Yet they cope, the key being their unique blend of Irish wit, charm, tenderness and tough love. Despite poverty, prejudice and religious intolerance, particularly the stigma of having a bastard child, the women’s lives are full of optimism and humour. And when the going gets rough, they find emotional release in the sheer raucous exuberance of dance.
But when brother Jack returns from Africa after 25 years as a missionary, they begin to question their allotted roles and the family teeters on the brink of change.
Speaking with the simplicity and the golden haze of youth, the adult Michael recalls and narrates two days in the life of the household, during which some lives are changed forever.
Director Ric Harley says: “Dancing At Lughnasa is funny, clever, witty, moving and sad — all those things. It’s about human nature; it’s about family. But it’s also about the effect the outside world is having on this family and how it ultimately tears it apart.”
Performances take place at the Corn Exchange, Wallingford, from October 23 to 26 at 7.45pm. Tickets are £10 each from the box office, call (01491) 825000, open evenings 7pm to 8pm and Fri/Sat 10am to 2pm, or online at www.cornexchange.org.uk