Dancing at Lughnasa

A heartsick narrator recalls a summer in the Irish countryside in 1936, when he was just seven, when life with his mother and four aunts began to shift from hardscrabble to hopeless. The sisters battle lack of work, love, and any consistent sense of security in a world on the cusp of wrenching change. You’d have to reach all the way back to The Glass Menagerie, arguably, to find a more haunting, lyrical memory play than Brian Friel’s 1990 Dancing at Lughnasa. And you’d have to be made of a very cold steel not to respond to the moment that gives the piece its title—a fleeting outburst of spontaneous celebration around the time of a harvest festival that finds the family of disparate women up on its feet in joyful abandon. Indeed, Lughnasa is so beautifully constructed that it’d be difficult for any production not to be affecting. The Rep, which first gave it a solid staging back in 1995, won’t be coasting on that fact, however. This current take is in the trustworthy care of Sheila Daniels, who earlier this month won a local Gregory Award for her work last season on, among other projects, Intiman’s Abe Lincoln in Illinois. Daniels wears her heart on her sleeve. Prepare to wipe tears away with yours. STEVE WIECKING 7:30 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sat.–Sun. Ends Dec. 5.

Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 13. Continues through Dec. 5, 2010

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