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February 17, 1997 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-17

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 17, 1997

'Dancing'
By Stephanie Love
Daily Arts Writer
Attention to detail within a play does1
not always guarantee a great perfor-
mance. But in the case of "Dancing atl
Lughnasa," precision went hand-in-;
hand with a high-
quality perfor- . R E
mance.
The two-act play
took place in and
around the kitchen endels
of the Mundy sis-
ters.
From the start, Patrick Moltane's nar-
ration as Michael captured the audi-1
ence's attention. He kept all the charm
of a 7-year-old, while he cleverly spokeJ
as an older narrator. In reality, Michael;
played a double role, looking back over
his life and reliving it at the same time.1
The play's best performances were
those of the Mundy sisters themselves.I
Jenny Burleson's performance as Katel
was outstanding. Not only did she1
express the anxiety of a woman looking :

combines detail and drama

out for her family, but her deadpan
humor and optimism mingled with
hopelessness made Kate come alive.
Spending most of her time in the
kitchen surrounded by wooden spoons
and crockery, Kate watched over the
actions of her sis-
V I E W ters and her malaria
stricken brother
Dancing at (Jeffrey Bender)
Lughnasa with all the worry
ssohn Theater and love of a moth-
Feb. 13, 1997 er.
The irreversible
course of the Mundy sisters' lives
became clear after Rose (Elif Celebi)
suggested that the sisters go to the
pagan festival of Lughnasa. Rose
attempts to unlock the family's happi-
ness, which is hidden by the everyday
burdens of trying to survive.
Rose's character often became irritat-
ing, and her sporadic nature seemed
like a cross between immaturity and a
learning disability. The play never
revealed the reasons for her actions,

leaving the audience wondering what
was wrong with her.
Strong .performances also came
from Cadi Sutter (Maggie) and
Heather Guglielmetti (Agnes).
Maggie's love for Wild Woodbines
contrasted with Agnes' innocent and
reserved nature. Guglielmetti was
poignant, portraying Agnes' delicate
emotions and her unexpected humor-
ous side with ease.
In contrast, Sutter handled Maggie's
whimsical character well. Spending her
time smoking and feeding chickens,
Maggie was by far the happiest of the
sisters. At the same time, however, she
seemed the most distraught.
The sisters' reactions to approaching
middle age without husbands revealed
their individual characters. Perhaps the
best example of this individuality took
place as the sisters danced during the
first act. The screeches of the women
were irritating and confusing at first,
but as one watched the intensity of their
faces, it was obvious that the dancing

was a necessary outlet for years of pent-
up emotions.
Chris' (Stephanie Bernstein) and
Jerry's (Matthew Clifford) relationship
exemplified the bursts of happiness the
Mundy sisters experienced throughout
their lives. Jerry, Michael's father, was
the typical unreliable male. But the part
was not quite on the level of the other
performances, partially because of the
unconvincing accent. Berstein's perfor-
mance as Chris was solid, although not
quite as stirring as those of Kate, Agnes
and Maggie.
Jeffrey Bender's performance as Jack
was compelling. Especially convincing
was the interaction between Jack and
Kate. Their conflict revealed the tension
between brother and sister as well as the
contrast between Catholicism and
paganism. Bender did an excellent job
of showing Jack as a quirky man with
little desire left for tradition, a change
which frustrated Kate and revealed his
illness at the same time.
The second half of the play was the

Many strong performances made "Dancing at Lughnasa" a success.

highlight of the performance. Agnes
made the second act come alive through
her unleashed emotional torrents.
Although Rose seemed to have the piv-
otal moment in the act, it is unclear why
she runs off to the festival and why she
seems to deteriorate upon returning
home.

Michael's narration successfully set
up the unraveling of events. The end,
which included a scene freeze whi
Michael revealed the characters' fate
was effective. The chilling words of
Michael's powerful closing speech were
beautiful, exemplifying Friel's poetic
use of language at its finest.

- 1

Women's lit reading group begins at Borders

TICKETS
ON SALE
NOW!

By Uz Mills
For the Daily
Stephanie Hausman and Manon
Beaudre, staff members at Borders,
invite students to
come to the first PR
meeting of the
W o m e n ' s
Literature Reading R
Group tonight at
7:30. An important
goal of the group is
to bring the Ann Arbor community
together for the common purpose of
reading and discussing literature.

two groups that c
Women's Lit
eading Group
Tonight at 7:30
Borders, Free
discussion classes

ften remain separate
due to the store's
size.
There are several
reasons people join
book clubs, ranging
from a desire to read
more widely, a nos-
talgia for college
or wanting to meet

Another of Hausman's goals is to
establish a closer connection between
the customers and the staff at Borders,

vations come to equally varied groups,
some directed toward a particular audi-
ence through the themes of the books dis-
cussed.
Hausman explained that she and
Beaudre chose six books they both have
read and enjoyed. At the first meeting,
they will present them as options for the
following week.
The first meeting will most likely
involve introductions, discussions
about personal preferences for books
and goals for the group as a whole,
Hausman said.
Hausman talked about two possible

methods of conducting the group, to
determined by the miembers. The fit
would be similar to a classroom setting
in which there would not be as much
communal discussion.
The second would place emphasis on
group participation and input. With the
second method, the responsibility of
leading the group would rotate, giving
each individual a chance to control how
to run the meeting. This tactic would
encourage participation as well as per-
sonal motivation to complete the re~@
ing and promote thought-provoking dis-
cussions, Hausman said.

new people with similar tastes in books.
Interested people with these varied moti-

I I' __________________

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