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Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa: Screenplay Paperback – November, 1998

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 101 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (November 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571196063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571196067
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,426,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
Set in Donegal in 1936, during Ireland's change from an agrarian to a more industrial economy, this screenplay of Brian Friel's haunting ensemble drama, on which Frank McGuinness collaborated, tells the story of five sisters and their priest brother in the rural community of Ballybeg on the eve of the harvest festival of Lughnasa. Forty-ish Kate, who sees herself "in charge," is the only real wage earner in the family. Rigid, severe, and completely lacking in humor, she believes pagan celebrations, such as Lughnasa, which provide fun and enjoyment in the countryside, are "uncivilized."

Her brother Jack, the priest, however, on furlough from his missionary work in Uganda, is now virtually a pagan himself. His work has shown him the need of the poor for happiness, dancing, and community celebration, even if it is not church-sanctioned. The other Mundy sisters help illustrate the ironic chasm between Kate's attitudes and those of Fr. Jack. Maggie, the fun-loving, free-spirited, and most humorous of the sisters, constantly bursts into song and dance and longs to go to the town dance. Christina feels no shame whatever about her son, a love-child, and thoroughly enjoys the summer visit of his father, Gerry Evans, with whom she dances spontaneously.

Aggie and Rose, who earn small wages knitting gloves, work tirelessly as the family's sad, "unpaid servants," constantly chafing against Kate's imposition of her own values on them. When the local priest fails to rehire Kate because of Fr. Jack's apparent paganism, the family is devastated, but it is at that moment that they recognize the need to celebrate life itself.

The message in this screenplay is weaker than in the stage play, with much less criticism directed at the "clan of the round collar" and its harsh edicts.
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