Dancing at Lughnasa

Misty Earisman

A rich narrative of complex relationships

Dancing at Lughnasa, premiering at Williams Center for the Arts on next Wednesday, is Michael Evan’s memory of the summer of 1936, when he was a young boy and living with his impoverished mother and her four sisters in a cottage in Ireland. He recounts their trials and tribulations in dealing with poverty and religious differences in a small town.

The play starts out with a monologue from Michael, played by English theater major Joseph Rothschild ‘16. Michael tells of Uncle Jack’s return to Ireland—after working as a missionary in Uganda for 25 years, he fell ill and returned to Ireland to die. During his time away, he discarded his Catholic faith and adopted African pagan beliefs. This creates a conflict within the family and in their town.

Michael’s unreliable father, Gerry, also creates tension among the sisters, who fight for his affection. Although Michael is only seven, he senses that his family on the verge of being torn apart.

Understanding the characters complex relationships with one another was one of the challenges for the director, Michael O’Neill, and the eight cast members.

The script is “convoluted with character relationships” and “rich with a lot of subtext,” theater major Nikelia Haines ’15 said, who plays Maggie Mundy, the head of the family.

The play, although somber, is interspersed with pieces of songs and dancing that will make it “a very exciting and enriching experience for every member of Lafayette College,” Rothschild said.

The play is, at its core, a story about “family and finding your place in life,” Meryl Hahne ‘18 said, who plays aunt Rose Mundy. The story is based on the real experiences of the playwright, Brian Friel.

 Performances 

Wednesday – Saturday, March 4, 5, 6, & 7, 2015

8:00pm to 10:30pm

Williams Center for the Arts Main Theater

General Admission $6; Lafayette Faculty and Staff $3; Lafayette Students $2