Actors Co-op Dancing at Lughnasa is true to Brian Friel
I am a fan of 99 seat theater and frequent the Actors Co-op. I was lucky enough to see Brian Friel's (pronounced Freel) Dancing at Lughnasa (pronounced loo-na-sah) opening weekend. I was excited to see what reviewers had to say and this review is unfortunate. I know the play well and the Actors Co-op did a beautiful job. The actors were, as stated, remarkable and play the story gorgeously. The play is dialogue. However, what is not being said, is what is fueling the story. The Mundy sisters beautifully walked the line of ordinary discussion while peeling back moments of deep regret and fear. The magic of these characters shows when each of them reacts and copes differently with challenges they face. We are given three solid examples: Jack's return, Gerry's(pronounced Jerry) return and Rose's return. Kate is mad in all of those moments, Maggie covers but is curious, Agnes & Chris are afraid. But each sister is written to show the wide array of human reaction. While this review is right, the story is Michael looking back on his life and seeking his purpose, the show is not trying to tie up the story with a bow. The story is flawed. The last monologue of the play describes the memories as floating and without fact, images and nostalgia carried through music. We, the audience do not get every detail because Michael himself, does not have every detail. That is why Brian Friel wrote the character of young Michael to be invisible. That is why Michael walks through the show as its narrator. That is why it is told out of time. The show is in a thrust theater, so while you may not see the faces of all characters the story is told beautifully across the room , many moments are in reaction. Depending on where you sit decides who you see speak, who you see respond. I thought it was beautifully staged and reflective of memory. While you may not leave the theater understanding everything, you will have connected and engaged in the story. This reviewer didn't understand the theater's space, the story's convention and he missed the point of the play. That being said, Actors Co-op did not. They were stunning. If you are a theater person and love this classic, you will not be disappointed. I rate this play five stars.
May 17, 2016, 5:06 pm
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