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Happenings Reader Contributed Schools

Northwest Catholic to Present ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’

Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford will present ‘Dancing at Lughnasa‘ as the fall play, Nov. 15-17.

Submitted by Maureen Scudder, Northwest Catholic High School

The Northwest Catholic High School Dramateurs will present their fall play, “Dancing at Lughnasa,” this Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.

“Dancing at Lughnasa” is a memory play told by an adult, Michael Evans, reflecting on his childhood spent in a cottage with his mother and four aunts in County Donegal, Ireland. 

Throughout the play, Michael reflects on two major events from the summer he was seven – the return of his elderly Uncle Jack, a priest, from his missionary work in Uganda, and the reappearance of his father, Gerry Evans, in his life. Michael watches the five women of the Mundy family grapple with the unknown, set against the time of year of the Irish pagan festival Lughnasa, which contrasts with their staunch Catholic faith. 

As the show is set in the fictional town of Ballybeg, the Dramateurs have spent months honing their Irish brogues and exploring the deep fabric of Irish family life. In addition to the actors portraying the family members, an eight-person Druid ensemble represents Ireland itself – the deeply rooted connection with the land and how it informs the lives of the people there. 

Director and Choreographer Kate Morran said, “The Dramateurs studied the history of paganism and Irish sacred sites in order to bring authenticity to the sense of place.” Morran continued, “The set is an amorphous combination of a kitchen at center stage and an environment of monolith standing stones around perimeter.”

Morran explained, “The concept is that the Druids represent a deep spiritual connection between family members. And as an ensemble, the actors are staged to help call in Michael’s memory as he narrates.”

Producer and Director Sara Avery said, “’Dancing at Lughnasa’ explores the connection between old and new, memory and fact, expectation and reality, and the fierce love of a family on the brink of change.” Morran added, “It has been wonderful to see the progression of these young actors as they dig deep into themes of family, faith, and the human condition.”

Tickets ($15 general admission, $12 students and senior citizens) can be reserved by emailing [email protected] and will also be sold at the door at Northwest Catholic High School, 29 Wampanoag Dr., West Hartford.

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