School of Performing and Visual Arts
Dancing at Lughnasa (2013)
Set in Ireland’s County Donegal, Dancing at Lughnasa recounts a young man’s distant memories of the love he experienced as a child of seven years old, and the hopes, fears and joys that surrounded him over the course of the summer of 1936. Now, as a young man, his growing awareness of that formative period in his life begins to give new meaning to the childhood memories he once knew. “It is not the literal past, the ‘facts’ of history, that shape us” says playwright Brian Friel, “but images of the past….”
When Dancing at Lughnasa first premiered on Broadway in 1991, it was nominated for an unprecedented eight Tony awards. This was the first time in the history of these awards that a new play had received this many nominations. It eventually won three of those awards, one of which was the Tony for Best Play.
Friel is widely considered to be the finest English language dramatist writing today. Often regarded as the ‘Irish Chekhov’, Friel’s plays speak for generations of modern Irish experience. However, the playwright’s Irish origins can obscure broader themes in his plays such as myth and history, family and memory, and language and its limits.
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