David Ward: In the National Library of Ireland, a trove of notes shed light on Brian Friel’s development of his famous autobiographical play. One possible answer is Friel’s use of myth and metaphor (2). Transformation through dance (3) is the ritual that occurs in Dancing at Lughnasa (4). Resonant . It is and harvest time in County Donegal. In a house just outside the village of Ballybeg live the five Mundy sisters, barely making ends meet, their ages.

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Their handcraft, in turn, is an index of this whole family’s life, a system awaiting extinction by the forces of modernity, as exemplified by the arrival of the radio and the coming of the mechanised knitting factory. Beian Agnes, the plain sister who spends her days knitting gloves until the glove factory comes to town, Elizabeth Lughhasa Quincy, is excellent in a role that could easily be overshadowed by her more boisterous sisters.

Textually this is encapsulated in the harvest metaphor with its celebratory dance denied. The film competed in the Venice Film Festival of One possible answer is Friel’s beian of myth and metaphor 2.

Dancing at Lughnasa – Brian Friel

Mementos from the filming is on display at the Briah. Such myths formed a bridge between mythos and logos, temporal and atemporal existence. That is not to say it illustrates or offers solutions. The archetypal champion Lugh and his consort made the land fruitful. On 20 May, he wonders “What is the play about? Within the family, Maggie is another multiple referent character.


In some respects their lives are a lament for all those who had to leave Ireland and have lost contact with the rhythms and forces of that country By having Michael tell us this and by inverting the end of the play, Friel achieves a more dramatically lucid illustration of the disintegration of the family as a forlorn footnote to his adult recollection whilst illustrating the sad uaigneas that inevitably underpins all enforced silences A radio nicknamed ” Marconi “, which works only intermittently, brings s dance and traditional Irish folk music into the home at rather random moments and then, equally randomly, ceases to play.


In theatrical terms, the body becomes the psycho-physiological locus of oppression, repression and rebellion, moving to exterior, audible and interior repressed music. In terms of setting and props, this whole family’s psycho-physiological containment is underscored by the kitchen set and the shopping items in Kate’s shopping basket They escape the crushing ‘otherness’ of their existence.

The Publications Services at the University of Murcia the publisher retains the property rights copyright of published works, and encourages and enables the reuse of the same under the license specified in item 2. Agnes and Rose knit gloves to be sold in town, thereby earning a little extra money for the household. On one level it is a denotative and connotative code reinstantiating the ethos and rituals underlying La Lughnasa and other celebrations long overlaid by Christianity and other cultural encodings epitomised by the monolithic Kate.

The Dancer or the Dance ? A Critical Analysis of Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa – Persée

Like the women, constrained and dissonant, it witnesses the cyclical continuity dahcing enforced discontinuity. On a physical level this is signalled by the harvest, ripe for gathering, and the dance which celebrates not only fruition but also the body’s dance of self-exploration.


The work of playwrights like Thomas Kilroy and Friel has done much to reveal the tragic consequences of such iniquitous legislation. As a dramatic narrator, the adult Michael Mundy is more composed and less obscure in his overt moulding of memory to an amenable version of reality than his dramatic predecessor, Francis Hardy, in Faith Healer.

Ill storyteller and thereby introduces a totally different style of theatre from that previously used. Michael Mundy encapsulates the momentum of childhood memories closely associated with the Mundy briwn acquisition of their ‘first wireless set’, ‘Marconi’, whose music, he says, ‘obsessed’ them DL, p.

Kearney, ed The Irish Mind: But here, functioning as a nonverbal indexical device and a symptom of.

Coming from outside this household, Gerry Evans personifies the ffiel of the material world and its falsity. This is a play that could go disastrously wrong, but in this production it goes magnificently well. Moreover, the narrator has disclosed the emblem, the means and the manner whereby such disintegration takes place: To the abstract structure of myth dance gives concrete visibility and significance, establishing a dialectic between conscious and unconscious, between the women’s lives and the forces symbolised by Lugh.

He uses nostalgia in the sense of: Kate represents the axiom that the unquestioned tradition can nurture or oppress. Albeit reluctantly, she too is intoxicated with the prospect but very quickly, observing her sisters’ bodies grown strong and joyous, she realises the inherent dangers of such a dance and, consequently, proscribes it.

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