The Amity Creative Theater at Amity High School will kick off its 2019-20 theatre season with “Dancing at Lughnasa,” a 1990 play by Irish dramatist Brian Friel. The production will be directed by Rob Kennedy and will take place in the John J. Brady Center for the Performing Arts on the Amity Campus, December 6th and 7th 2019. Tickets are now on sale.
Set in rural Ireland in the summer of 1936, “Dancing at Lughnasa” is the story of the five unmarried Mundy sisters, Maggie, Chris, Agnes, Rose, and Kate, as told through the memory of the illegitimate son of one of the women. Though he was only seven when the events of his memory occur, a grown-up Micheal guides us through this late summer tribute to the spirit and courage of the past, full of mystery, music, nostalgia, and bitter truths. Recipient of the Tony Award for Best Play in 1992, “Dancing at Lughnasa” addresses the plight of Irish women during a particularly difficult time for women in the country.
“Our fall productions often tackle social issues. In the past the Amity productions have dealt with difficult topics like Autism, Hate Crimes and Anti-Semitism. This year we thought it was important to amplify the stories of women,” said Kennedy. In the play the Mundy sisters have found themselves on the margins of their rural community because one of the sisters became pregnant and had a child out of wedlock. Instead of being outcast she was kept in the home and embraced by her sisters, and later by her brother, a missionary priest who had been in Africa for 25 years. “The decision ultimately cost her family their livelihood,” continued Kennedy. “It is a truly beautiful play — deeply poetic, highly moving, and profoundly atmospheric.”
The cast includes familiar names from the Amity student body. Senior Talya Braverman (“Catch Me If You Can,” “Curious Incident”) of Woodbridge plays the eldest sister Kate, the stern school teacher. Sophomore Macie Cox (“Catch Me If You Can,” “Curious Incident”) of Orange plays the lively Maggie. Fellow sophomore Audrey Jurzyk (“Catch Me If You Can”) also of Orange plays the brooding sister and knitter Agnes. Bethany junior Grace Blanchard (“Catch Me If You Can,” “Curious Incident”) plays the simple but sweet Rose. Sophomore McKenna Maxwell (“Catch Me If You Can”) also of Bethany plays youngest sister Christina. Senior Jacob Lee (“Catch Me If You Can,” “Curious Incident”) of Orange plays the long-lost brother and priest back from Africa; Father Jack. Marty Gnidula (“Catch Me If You Can,” “Addams Family”) also a senior from Orange plays the ne’er do well drifter Gerry Evans. Rounding out the cast is the play’s narrator Micheal played by Bethany junior Ryan Kennedy (“Catch Me If You Can,” “Curious Incident”).
“Dancing at Lughnasa” was the winner of the 1992 Tony Award for Best Play, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Broadway Play and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. Chosen by Time magazine as one of the ten best plays for 1990s, saying it is “The most elegant and rueful memory play since “The Glass Menagerie.”” “…this play does exactly what theater was born to do, carrying both its characters and audience aloft on those waves of distant music and ecstatic release that, in defiance of all language and logic, let us dance and dream just before night must fall.” — NY Times. “This is no way a play to be missed—simply a wondrous experience. Experience it.” —NY Post.
Ticket prices for all shows are $12 with free student rush tickets on the night of the performance. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office 203-392-2019, or online at www.amitytheaterdepartment.com.