Oct 14, 2008

Theater captivates audience with Irish flair

by Emily DeFosse

The curtain went up at the Lloyd Theatre Friday with the debut of “Dancing at Lughnasa.”

The play, set in a small Irish town during the summer of 1936, follows the lives of five unmarried sisters. The story is told from the memory of the narrator, Michael Evans, who is played by Andy Harvey. Evans is a middle-aged man sharing his favorite memories from his childhood with the audience.

“(The play) is about a boy’s memory, the nostalgia of looking back at his life and really remembering the best parts of his life though some are very sad and dismal memories,” Harvey said. “But really that’s the meaning of nostalgia; remembering the good in the midst of the bad, and that is really what this play is about.”

One of the biggest challenges faced by the actors was learning to speak with Irish and Welsh accents.

“I think the most challenging thing is the accent work we are doing,” said Cody Carwile who plays the character of Gerry Evans. “The thing with accents is that you have to make sure that the character is not just a voice. It is not just this guy being himself with an Irish accent. You have to make sure you do more work with the character so it is not just a gimmick.”

The realistic themes of the play also came as a challenge to actors who are used to performing in musicals and comedies, which make up the majority of Liberty’s dramas.

“I think the most challenging thing about this show has probably been the realism,” Assistant Professor and Director Neal Brasher said. “Because it is a realistic kind of play and it has been challenging for the actors because a lot of times with a musical, a farce or a high comedy sort of theme, you can push everything over the top and be ridiculous. But with this play the challenge for us was to see how real we could make the characters so the audience would really identify with them.”

The play is now entering the second and final weekend of performances. For show times and ticket information call (434) 582-2085, or visit the box office located in the Performing Arts Hall.


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