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Thursday, September 23, 2021


School of Theatre and Dance opens acclaimed Irish play Friday


The play is set in August 1936 in the fictional town of Ballybeg in County Donegal. | Courtesy of the School of Theatre and Dance

The UH School of Theatre and Dance opens their performance of the Irish memory play “Dancing at Lughnasa” at the Jose Quintero Theatre today.

The play, written by playwright Brian Friel, is about five sisters and their family who live in a small town in Ireland during 1936. The narrator, Michael Evans, who is the illegitimate son of one of the sisters, tells the story through his memories of living in his aunts’ home as a child.

“It’s basically a snapshot of a couple days of his childhood, just before everything sort of fell apart,” said actor Zachary Givens, who plays the role of Gerry Evans. “It’s sort of the best parts of his childhood in a sense, and you get to look back at these characters and their transformations and how they affected him as a child.”

The play is centralized around the five Mundy sisters, who go through difficult times but always find ways to care for themselves and their family.

“I think the point of the play is to emphasize how important family is,” said scenic designer Jean Gonzalez. “(Evans) has the support of all these women, and they all support each other through the endeavors in their life.”

Because there is so much subtext in the characters, Givens said that director Carolyn Boone has fallen in love with every one of them. He said Boone wants to show that to the audience so they can relate to the characters.

“Every single character in this show is going to connect with every single person in some way,” said Trey Taylor, the assistant director. “There is so much going on with them that in every single character you’re going to find some aspect of yourself.”

The show will also feature several dance sequences and hit songs from the 1930s such as “Anything Goes” and “Isle of Capris.”

Along with two or three charming dance sequences, the audience will also enjoy the gorgeous lighting aspects of the show, Givens said.

“It’s a fun play and a lot of looking into family-bonding moments,” Gonzalez said. “Everyone can find something they can relate to in the show.”

“Dancing at Lughnasa” opens Friday and will run this Saturday and Wednesday through Nov. 20. Tickets are available here.

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