‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ Theater Production Runs Through April 17

Theater at EMU actors Lauren Zehr and Steve Kniss
“Let us dance and dream before night must fall” – Juniors Lauren Zehr (as Christine) and Steve Kniss (as Gerry) relive lost love in the Irish countryside in a scene from the EMU Theater spring mainstage production, “Dancing at Lughnasa.” Photo by Lindsey Kolb

Theater at EMU is presenting six performances of its spring mainstage production, “Dancing at Lughnasa,” by Brian Friel.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Apr. 8-10 and Apr. 15-17 in the mainstage theater of the University Commons. Thomas P. Joyner, assistant professor of theater at EMU, directs the eight-member cast in this intense study of the lives of five impoverished women set in 1936 in Ireland’s County Donegal in the fictional town of Ballybeg.

About the play

The play is loosely based on the lives of dramatist Friel’s mother and aunts who lived in the Glenties on the west coast of Donegal. The play depicts the late summer days when love briefly seems possible for three of the Mundy sisters (Chris, Rose and Kate) and the family welcomes home the frail elder brother from life as a missionary in Africa.

However, as the summer ends, the family foresees the sadness and economic privations under which they will suffer as hopes begin to fade.

The play premiered Oct. 15, 1990 at the Lyttelton Theater at the Royal National Theater in London on 15 October 1990. The production, produced by Bill Kenwright and Noel Pearson, then transferred to the Phoenix Theater, London, on Mar. 25, 1991. In 2009, a run opened at the Old Vic from Feb. 26 to May 9.

The play opened on Broadway at the Plymouth Theater on Oct. 24,1991, where the production won the Tony Award for “Best Play” in 1992. “Dancing at Lughnasa” was adapted for film in 1998 starring Meryl Streep as Kate Mundy.

Ticket info

Tickets are available from the EMU Box Office, 540-432-4582 or ordered online at www.emu.edu/boxoffice.

The Thursday, Apr. 8 performance will be offered at no charge, donations accepted; come as you are, pay what you will. For the remaining nights, reserved tickets are $10 for adults, $12 at the door, and $8 for seniors and non-EMU students ($10 at the door).Group rates available.

Information regarding age appropriateness for EMU events is available through the Box Office.