Dancing at Lughnasa | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Dancing at Lughnasa

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Lurking beneath the veneer of civilization in Ballybeg in 1936 are the old gods of Ireland, with their sensual worship of the fertile earth. The narrator of Brian Friel's memory play explores this theme as he recounts the fortunes of five unmarried sisters whose world is about to be toppled by industrial progress and their own restless yearning on the eve of a summer Lughnasa festival. Director Michael Menendian enlivens the storyteller's recollections with vivid images of the moments "when language no longer existed," which shaped the family's fate. Never has the tension in this popular play between decorum and passion been more apparent, the consequences of the conflict more immediate, and its significance in a changing universe more coherent than in this production. Through 6/5: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark, 773-338-2177. $20-$25.

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