The Irish Classical Theatre Company, which has increasingly taken inspired holidays from the Irish classics it was founded to produce, will get back to basics next Thursday with a production of Brian Friel’s “Dancing at Lughnasa.”
The 1990 play, last seen locally in a Studio Arena Theatre production featuring Vincent O’Neill, Chris O’Neill and Josephine Hogan in 1994, won a slew of awards, including the 1991 Olivier Award for best play and the 1992 Tony Award for best play. Constructed as a memory play, it tells the story of the five Mundy sisters and the return of a long-absent brother from a missionary trip, all ensconced in the family home in the fictional Northern Irish town of Ballybeg in the late 1930s. It’s titled for a pagan harvest celebration known as Lughnasa (pronounced LOON-ah-sah), a nod to the conflicts it explores between pagan rituals and Christianity.
“We have done more plays by Brian Friel at Irish Classical than any other playwright, for a very good reason: because his writing is so fine, so beautiful and there’s always a poetic undertow, it’s very lyrical,” said Irish Classical director and co-founder Vincent O’Neill. “And sitting in the audience is always an incredibly moving experience.”
This production is directed by Derek Campbell and features Chris Kelly, Wendy Hall, Beth Donohue, Katie White, Elizabeth Oddy, Tom LaChiusa, Andrea Gollhardt and Gerry Maher. Tickets are $34 to $42, with more information at 853-4282 or at www.irishclassical.com.
– Colin Dabkowski