The award-winning Irish theater piece, “Dancing at Lughnasa,” has made its way to Gonzaga’s Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center. 

“This is a great snapshot of people who believe in something bigger than themselves and may struggle on a day-to-day basis, but still find joy in small miracles and relationships,” said Molly Quillin, a senior actress playing the role of Kate, the eldest sister.

The play is narrated through the memories of Michael, the youngest sibling of the family, who the play focuses on. His memories take viewers through the daily life of his family living in a small cottage in rural Ireland during the 1930s. 

There is a strong female presence on stage, which is unique, considering the time and place of the story. 

Family dynamic is a central aspect of “Dancing at Lughnasa,” both on and off the stage.

It is something Quillin and her fellow stage mate, Freja Uecker, find to be comforting while they are away at college and each said it is a special theme the audience will find heartwarming by giving them a little piece of home. 

Uecker said this is one of the smallest casts she has worked with. But they have been rehearsing since mid-November and working closely together has helped them convey the strong family bond that is necessary to the story of the play.

“I really miss my sister, so I like seeing the sister dynamic and how they care for one another,” Uecker said. 

The bond they have created while acting as each other’s siblings has carried over into their lives at GU.

“The community that viewers are going to see is reflected in real life,” Quilin said. “We’ve had so much fun forming this community.”  

Aside from a strong emphasis on the familial theme, there are other components to this play that make it more authentic than many of its counterparts. 

All viewers can take something away because its content is so broad that everyone will be able to connect with it in some way.  

“There are a lot of things that make this piece very unique and special,” Quillin said. 

Irish accents, Irish jigs and live music are all featured in order to give the audience a genuine taste of Irish culture.

Actors and actresses have been working on their Irish accents and mastering the dialect of Donegal County in Northern Ireland, where the performance is set, to bring Irish culture directly to the stage. 

Live music will be provided by a local Irish band called Floating Crowbar.

Quillin and Uecker both said that Jack Delehanty, a guest director from Gonzaga Preparatory School, is ecstatic for the audience to have an opportunity to experience this performance with live music, which brings new levels of authenticity to the scenes.

Authentic Irish dance numbers will be performed with the music.

The show will debut Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in MWPAC. It will also run Feb. 1, 7 and 8 at the same time. It will run Feb. 2 and 9 at 2 p.m.

Kayla Friedrich is a staff writer.

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