“It is not the literal past, the ‘facts’ of history, that shape us, but images of the past embodied in language.” -Brian Friel
Dancing at Lughnasa weaves the story of five unmarried sisters eking out their lives in the small village of Ballybeg in Ireland in 1936. Set during harvest time in County Donegal, the story revolves around the five Mundy sisters who range in age from twenty-six to forty. They live together with the youngest sister’s seven-year-old son, and their brother Jack a missionary priest repatriated from Africa by his superiors after 25 years. In depicting two days in the lives of this family, Friel evokes not simply the interior landscape of a group of human beings trapped in their domestic situation, but the wider landscape – internal and external, Christian and pagan – of which they are a part. Widely regarded as Friel’s masterpiece, the play honors the spirit and valor of the past.