Theatre Fairfield Opens Season with "Dancing at Lughnasa"
Theatre Fairfield, the University’s resident production company, opens its 2014-2015 season with the award-winning play “Dancing at Lughnasa,” by Irish playwright and author Brian Friel. Performances take place at the Quick Center's Wien Black Box Theatre at 8 p.m. Wed. through Sat., Oct. 29-Nov. 1, and at 2 p.m. on Sat. and Sun., Nov 1 and Nov. 2. Tickets are $12 general admission, $6 for seniors and university staff, and $5 for students.
Loosely based on Brian Friel’s own life, “Dancing at Lughnasa” is a memory play that takes place in the small Irish village Balleybeg during the summer of 1936. For years, the five Mundy sisters have gone about their mundane lives living from one day to the next. However, with the return of their older brother and the subsequent visit of a handsome face from the past, the sisters’ world begins to crumble around them. Through Irish step dancing and joyful and thrilling music brought by an old-fashioned radio, this play reminds its audiences that the human spirit and passion can endure even the toughest of times. “Dancing at Lughnasa” won London’s prestigious Olivier Award for Best Play in 1991, followed by several Tony Awards when it came to Broadway in 1992. It was made into a film adaptation starring Meryl Streep in 1998.
“Theatre Fairfield chose ‘Lughnasa’ as an active collaboration with the Irish Studies Program on campus and the large Gaelic-American population in Fairfield County,” said Dr. Martha S. LoMonaco, professor of theatre and co-producer and resident director, of Theatre Fairfield. “It is an especially wonderful choice for performers eager to challenge themselves by playing characters who speak in Irish dialect and also sing and step-dance. The show will be a veritable feast for the eyes and ears.”
Bringing this show to life in Fairfield are New York City guest artists Tom Schwans, who is directing, and Jaclyn Meloni, the scenic designer. The artistic team is completed with Theatre Fairfield regulars Lynne Chase as lighting designer, Julie Leavitt as costume designer, Brian Kelly as sound designer, and Mary Paul as technical director. The cast includes, Franco Luzzi ’15 (Michael) from New Haven, Conn.; Aubrey Sierer ’16 (Kate) from Bridgeport, Conn.; Katie Gillette ’15 (Maggie) from Woodbury, Conn.; Maggie Greene ’15 (Agnes) from Portland, Ore.; Jessica Lizotte ’18 (Rose) from Sandwich, Mass.; Grace Schiller ’17 (Chris) from Holliston, Mass.; Alec Bandzes ’15 (Gerry) from Middlefield, Conn.; and Brendan Freeman ’15 (Jack) from Shrewsbury, Mass.
Theatre Fairfield produces at least four major productions every year and serves as a platform for community engagement as well as a professional learning environment. The next production in the season is “Directors Cut,” an extravaganza of one-act plays directed and designed by advanced theatre students, opening at the PepsiCo Theatre on December 4, 2014.
Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396. (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online at www.quickcenter.com.
Pictured (left-right): Grace Schiller ’17 as Chris, and Alec Bandzes ’15 as Gerry. Photo by Lynne Porter.