Monday, July 15, 2019


 Playwright Brian Friel's reputation as the Chekov of Irish drama seems deservedly so. Open Fist's "Dancing at Lughnasa" (Loo nasa) poetically invites us into his 1936 memory play narrated by Michael (David Shofner)
David Shofner, Ann Marie Wilding, Lane Allison
Photo by Darrett Sanders
who returns in memory to his childhood: his loving sister/aunties more or less governed by elder sister Kate (Martha Demson) who rides herd on family fantasies. Michael's mother, Chris (Caroline Klidonis) has had her 'love child' with the rascally Gerry (Scott Roberts) who stops by now and then with promises that are seldom kept, but an Irish charm that is irresistible. Maggie (Lane Allison) is the tease whom Michael remembers for her wit. Agnes (Ann Marie Wilding) and beautiful Rose (Sandra Kate Burck) with their sisters all want to attend the Harvest Dance that's on the horizon.  Dancing shoes are constantly being changed and we get a little dancing in the mix.  
Martha Demson, David Shofner, Caroline Klidonas
Photo by Darrett Sanders

Father Jack (Christopher Cappiello) has returned from his service as a Catholic priest in Africa and slowly emerges to his old self and with a mighty monologue extols the virtues of the natives with whom he celebrated a religion more true that the one that sent him there.

Set in the mythical Irish town of Ballybeg, Friel poetically envelops us in the love he renders probably from his own childhood.  Born in 1929, Friel wrote the play in 1990, recounting his poetic tale from a considerable distance in time. The depth and distinct personalities of his characters all ring with a gentle kindness that reminds of Martin McDonaugh's "Cripple of Inishmaan." 

Set in Donegal: Northern Ireland: Ulster...  the accents that director Barbara Schofield has chosen are more Limerick than Donegal. Stage pictures and the easy flow of the work are well done.

A beautiful set design by James Spencer was solidly constructed by Jan Munroe.

Dancing at Lughnasa  by Brian Friel
 Opened Friday, July 12 
Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 4 p.m. 
 Mondays at 8 p.m. through Aug. 18. 
One additional Friday performance 
Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.   

Atwater Village Theatre  
 3269 Casitas Ave  
Los Angeles, CA 90039
On-site parking is free. 
For reservations and information
 (323) 882-6912 

No comments:

Post a Comment