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‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ comes to Tannery Pond Oct. 19-21

Kristine Messing and Mary Ellen Dowling

Kristine Messing and Mary Ellen Dowling Eric Potter

— The rich and complicated story of a family of six siblings (five sisters and a brother) living in the world of 1936 Donegal, Ireland comes to life this weekend at the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek.

The Our Town Theatre Group production of Brian Friel’s drama “Dancing at Lughnasa” will be offered up in three performances: 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evening (Oct. 19 and 20) and Sunday, Oct. 21, at 1:30 p.m.

The play centers on the lives of five unmarried sisters who live in a world that is full of both joy and sorrow at a time when the family is struggling to maintain itself during financial and emotional difficulties.

The summer harvest festival of Lughnasa (pronounced “LOON-ahsah” has deeply affected the family, bringing out the joy of dancing as well as the fear of an unknown future for all as they endeavor to survive.

“The play is about ourselves and the layers that make up our lives, with nothing explicit. All the actors have to dig to find the truth about him or herself,” said Mary Ellen Dowling, who plays Kate, one of the sisters.

Judy Stafford (the sister Agnes) adds that the play is “a very complex layering of human emotions — reflecting what is happening in our world today, debating the same social issues charged with the same emotions.”

Dennis Wilson, who plays the sisters’ brother Jack, feels that it is a wonderful play.

“(It) reflects out culture today; for both economic and religious reasons, this family is falling apart and there is little it can do to prevent its dissolution,” Wilson said.

Kristine Messing said, “It’s a sincere play, based on time and place — a situational play that delves into the sisters’ complicated relationships and life in rural Ireland.”

Director Colleen Potter reflected on this experience.

“This has been a wonderful adventure,” Potter said. “The cast has done some incredible work creating very real, three-dimensional characters over the past several weeks, and now it’s our chance to tell the story of that summer of 1936 in Donegal, Ireland.”

For more information, contact Production Manager Mary Ellen Dowling at 352-1938 or Guest Director Colleen Potter at 251-9856.

This event is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program, administered locally by the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council.

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