Guest Artist helms Elmira College’s Dancing at Lughnasa

October 16 2013
Category: Academics

Dancing at Lughnasa

Dancing at Lughnasa, the Olivier and Tony Award winning play by Brian Friel, will open the 2013-2014 Elmira College Theatre Season. Performances are scheduled Thursday through Saturday, October 24th through the 26th at 8PM with a matinee Sunday October 27th at 2PM. Performances are held in the college’s Gibson Theatre.

Widely regarded as the masterpiece of Irish playwright Brian Friel’s illustrious career, Dancing at Lughnasa is the touching, lyrical tale of five unmarried sisters, named after Friel’s mother and sisters (“those five brave, Glenties women”) who live in a modest cottage in Ballybeg in the county of Donegal. Set in the turbulent autumn of 1936, the household revolves around the Mundy sisters, an eight year old love child conceived by one of the sisters and a charming itinerant Welshman, and the Mundy brother priest, Uncle Jack, recently returned from Uganda after 25 years of service in a leper colony. “Ancient tribal customs and Christian beliefs clash as the autumnal fires celebrating the Harvest God, Lugh, bathe the high grass in golden light and distant music on the radio floats across the fields.” The sisters dance, with unfailing courage and a sense of hope and transcendence, toward a future sure to change their lives and their world forever.

The Elmira College production is under the direction of Guest Artist Kenneth Kay. Currently the Director of Education and Outreach at the Plaza Theatre in Manalapan, Florida (after stints with the Caldwell Playhouse and Blowing Rock Stage Company) Mr. Kay made his professional acting debut in 1978. Since that time, he has gone on to act in, direct and/or produce nearly 300 professional stage productions throughout the southeast and on national tour. A Vietnam era veteran of the US Navy “Seabees,” Mr. Kay received a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of West Florida (Pensacola) in 1978. He was awarded an MFA in Acting/Directing from Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton) in 1985. He is also a graduate of the Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training (1981), where he studied with acclaimed teachers/actors Burt Reynolds, Charles Nelson Reilly, Julie Harris, Jose Quintero, Dom DeLuise and Martin Sheen.

Featured in the cast of Dancing at Lughnasa are Lara Quidore as Kate, Sarah Kaschalk as Maggie, Kristen Redaniel as Agnes, Samantha Jones as Rose, Katherine Juliano as Chris, Matt Ultan as Michael, Tony Naranjo as Gerry, and Connor McGuire as Jack. Brianna Brooks serves as stage manager. Prof. George de Falussy designs the production which is under the technical direction of Scott McGuire.

Dancing at Lughnasa performances are scheduled Thursday through Saturday, October 24th through the 26th at 8 p.m. with a matinee Sunday October 27th at 2 p.m. All performances are held in the College’s Gibson Theatre on campus. Reservations are suggested and may be made by calling the theatre box office at 607-735-1853. Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 seniors, $6 students (other than EC), and $5 children.