On April 11, 2023

Theater in the Woods presents Friel’s luminous love letter to his family, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa,’ at Stone Valley Arts in Poultney

Set in remote County Donegal in Ireland in 1936, Friel’s memory play is placed in the small cottage of the five Mundy sisters, their fallen priest brother, and a wayward Welshman on two days in August at the harvest festival of Lughnasa. Their story is told through the adult eyes of 7 year-old Michael. The isolation — of the family from society, of the characters from each other — is palpable, pervasive, and poetic.

Director Meg Bouchard said, “My guiding question choosing this play three years ago was about family: how can there be so much love and so much pain at exactly the same time? It’s exquisite, and universal. As someone who had moved from the city to Vermont, the play’s isolation drew me. And that was before Covid! We’ve gotten out of the habit of connecting with people, and bringing this play to life after three years of postponement really loads it — it felt criminal not to get this play on its feet. We had to take it to the dance.”

Theater in the Woods Camp works with dozens of children each summer to experience the transformative power of theater in the magic of the woods. Camp directors Meg Bouchard, Melissa Chesnut-Tangerman, Rainbow Squier, and Wheaton Squier present contemporary theater repertoire to hone their acting and teaching craft, for the opportunity to play with each other, and to raise funds for the camp. They are joined in ensemble by Helen Gassenheimer, Kate Kelly, Tristan Larson, and Chip Stevens.

Sponsors for this production are Noble Ace Hardware; O’Brien, Shortle, Reynolds and Sabotka PC; Querrey Industrial Services Inc.; Rita Salzman; and Mark and Nancy Foley. The Mountain Times is the media sponsor.

Proceeds from ticket sales support Theater in the Woods Camp, held June 24-July 28 in Middletown Springs.

Tickets are $20 for adults; $15 students.

Theatre in the Woods Vermont Co. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. For more information, visit: heaterinthewoodsvt.org.

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