Dancing At Lughnasa by Brian Friel

This is a short lovely play about five sisters living in
Ireland in the 1930s.  You might have seen the movie
with Meryl Streep, which was good, but reading the play
makes it come closer to home.

One sister, Kate, has a job as a local schoolteacher.  The others have
housekeeping jobs around the house and they cobble together
a life that is simple and thrifty.

Dancing At Lughnasa by Brian Friel 002

 

Chris is twenty-six and has a seven year old boy from a relationship that has soured, although the father, Gerry,
comes around occasionally.

 

The only other male in the family is a brother, Jack, who had been
an army chaplain in Africa, but has been dismissed for an unknown
reason and has returned to live with them.

A wireless set makes life a little more fun for them, and although
they bicker freely among themselves, it’s a close knit family. The
music of the nineteen-thirties wafts through the house and of
course, at one point they are all dancing to the songs.
Their Irish humor shines through as well as the poignant
situation of their lives and probable future.

The women see little hope of marriage and one scene plays out
their feelings:

Maggie: If I had to choose between one Wild Woodbine and a
man of –say–fifty-two–widower–plump, what would I do,
Kate?  I’d take fatso, wouldn’t I?  God, I really am getting
desperate. (Jack enters through the garden.) Maybe I should
go to Ryanga with you, Jack.”

Jack: I know you won’t but I know you’d love it.

Maggie: Could you guarantee a man for each of us?

Jack: I couldn’t promise four men but I should be able to
get one husband for all of you.”

The play takes place over only two days.  Trouble develops
in their lives and we are carried along to an ending we can’t
fix.  It’s a beautiful little play.  (Lughnasa . . .Loo na’ sa)

porcelain mistletoe buttons with rhinestone trim at the border ©booksandbuttons

porcelain mistletoe buttons with rhinestone trim at the border ©booksandbuttons

 

 

Four button review.

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