Friel is sometimes called the Irish Chekhov, and Dancing at Lughnasa bears that out in some respects. Instead of Chekhov's Three Sisters, Friel focuses on five sisters, the Mundys, who live together in a small cottage outside the fictional town of Ballybeg in County Donegal. We see Kate, Maggie, Agnes, Rose and Christina Mundy from the point of view of Michael, Christina's son, as he shares his memories of his mother and her sisters in August, 1936. Their lives are complicated not just by the murky romantic possibilities of that moment in their lives, but also by their difficult financial situation, and the return of their brother -- much changed and very unwell -- after 25 years of mission work as a priest in Uganda.
Broadway production. You can see the Broadway poster at right.
The 1998 film version, featuring Meryl Streep as oldest sister Kate, also made an impression, winning an Irish Film and Television Award for Brid Brennan, who played Agnes. Brennan had previously won the Tony for the same role in the Broadway production.
Performances of Dancing at Lughnasa are scheduled for November 1 to 9 at the ISU Center for the Performing Arts. You can click that link under the title to see the Department of Theatre and Dance's entire 2013-14 slate of productions as well as ticket information.