SBU Theater will stage its production of Brian Friel’s “Dancing at Lughnasa” Wednesday, Oct. 22, through Saturday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Garret Theater, adjacent to Devereux Hall on the St. Bonaventure campus.
Set in Ireland's County Donegal in August 1936, the play takes place in the memory of narrator Michael Evans. Evans recounts the summer in his aunt's cottage when he was 7 years old during the Festival of Lughnasa, which is still celebrated by the Irish who live in the countryside today.
Dr. Ed. Simone, director of SBU’s Theater Program, will direct St. Bonaventure’s fall production, and Rebecca Misenheimer, associate professor of theater, will design the sets, costumes and lights.
The cast members include theater majors Tori Lanzillo, Lea Battaglia and Frederick Alvarez, as well as Bridget Hoag, Whitney Downard, Clarissa Ahumada-Albert, Bryce Spadafora and Dakota Ward.
Students making up the show’s technical crew are theater majors Bill Fanton, Frederick Alvarez, Kristen Caputo and Taquan Brown, as well as Nathan Cass, Whitney Downard, theater minor Will Foust, and Miguel Lopez.
Theater major Chernice Miller is the production’s stage manager, with chemistry major Ryan Lim and theater major Breanna Grayson as assistant stage managers.
Simone said the play illustrates the difficulties that come in an unusual family setting.
“The five Mundy sisters: Kate, Maggie, Agnes, Rosie and Christina are in a different living situations,” Simone said. “It’s a beautiful play that shows what happens when a unique family setting is disturbed by the arrival of new people and technology. The play tells a story with both humor and deep emotion.”
The last time SBU Theater did a production by Friel was back in the 1980’s, according to Simone, when Stephen Gray-Lewis directed Friel’s “Lovers.”
“I thought it would be interesting to do another play by Friel because it offers our theater students the opportunity to work on a unique and complex set deign,” Simone said. “This play is also interesting because the audience doesn’t see the young Michael. The narrator, Evans, speaks the part of himself as a young boy as he recollects the events that happened years ago.”
Simone added “Dancing at Lughnasa” would relate to the lives of students at St. Bonaventure.
“I think the play is great for students to see because it’s about the relationships between people in a non-traditional family,” Simone said. “We all come from different family environments---single-parent families, students who are raised by aunts or grandparents---there’s such a variety of family experiences. This play shows one particular family that struggles to stay together in a time of change.”
The play resonated with Simone because students can relate to the family in the play with their extended families here on campus.
“When students go to a university, their ‘families’ grow even more with their different groups of friends,” Simone said. “Before, their families consisted of siblings, parents, aunts, and grandparents. Now, students have a new perspective of family because their friends influence their lives.”
Tickets can be reserved by calling 716-375-2494. Free student rush seating is available one hour before curtain at the box office. Student rush tickets can be obtained in person only with one free ticket per valid student ID.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. We are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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