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Source: Lycoming College

Williamsport — Lycoming College will kick off its 2019-20 theatre season with “Dancing at Lughnasa,” a 1990 play by dramatist Brian Friel. The production will be directed by C. Austin Hill, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of theatre, and will take place in the Mary L. Welch Theatre, Oct. 2-5, at 8 p.m.

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 Michael was only seven when the events of his memory occur, he 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.

“As a feminist scholar, it is important to me to help amplify the stories of women wherever possible,” said Hill. “These women have found themselves on the margins of their rural community simply because one of the sisters became pregnant and had a child out of wedlock —an act that could have (perhaps should have) landed her in a ‘mother and child home,’ a Catholic Church-run prison for ‘fallen women.’ Instead, 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 Hill. “It is a truly beautiful play — deeply poetic, highly moving, and profoundly atmospheric.”

The cast includes familiar names from the Lycoming College student body, as well as several newcomers:

· Nick Auletti ’20 (East Quogue, N.Y.) – theatre major; history minor

· Esmerelda Cabrera ’20 (N. Hollywood, Calif.) – theatre and corporate communications major

· Stephon Folk ’23 (Lawrenceville, Pa.) – undeclared major

· Abigayle Greevy ’23 (Jersey Shore, Pa.) – undeclared major

· Caleia Hagwood ’18 (Bridgeport, Pa.) – theatre major; corporate communications minor

· Cason Morgan ’21 (Danville, Pa.) – theatre major, film; video arts minor

· Kiera Vinson ’22 (Clarion, Pa.) – theatre and French major

· Tara Wands ’23 (New Columbia, Pa.) – undeclared major

The 2019-20 season examines the types of stories we, as human beings, tell. “Dancing at Lughnasa” is a memory play about what we recall from our childhoods, and about how single moments can etch themselves onto our entire psyche. “Reality,” slated for November, will explore the world of reality television, where even romance is embellished by cameras and directors. In the spring, “Shrek, The Musical” will turn its focus to some of our favorite fairy tales — both old and new — and ask us to think about what a hero really looks like.

Ticket prices for all shows are $10 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office 570-321-4048, or online at https://www.lycoming.edu/theatre/schedule.aspx.