NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Last seasons production of Dancing at Lughnasa was such a success that The Schoolhouse Theater is opening this season with an encore presentation.
On September 22, Brian Friels award-winning play will be premiered with exactly the same cast, director, set, lighting and costumes as last year -- with one exception. One of the costumes is on loan to another theater.
On the other hand, there is a special treat. Brendan Kilty, a Dublin barrister and James Joyce scholar, will be on hand as a guest speaker and will take part in a Talk-Back with the audience.
The second Talk-Back speaker, after the matinee performance on September 25, will be Peter Kramer, theater reviewer for the Journal News, who gave Lughnasa a splendid write-up last season.
Pamela Moller Kareman, artistic director of the Schoolhouse, describes the Friel play as a real Irish play, written for Irish people." Brian Friel was in his mid-50s when he wrote it. Its based on his five aunts, delightful women, who took care of him the summer he was seven.
Friel was suffering from writers block when he happened to see two homeless people in the street. Two of his aunts had ended homeless, so he knew what it was like. The play is full of love and sadness and poignancy. Its an extraordinary piece of work.
Kareman talked about the history of the Schoolhouse Theater, which was truly a schoolhouse from 1928 until the 1970s. Lee Pope, an art lover and supporter of the arts, bought the building in the 1980s and converted it to artists studios. Then she got the idea of opening a theater.
She saw a production of Alan Ayckbourns Bedroom Farce in the city, with Michael Wilding and Brooke Palance, Kareman explained. She made arrangements for the original cast to come up. They trucked up the whole thing, sets and all. It was like summer stock. It sold out. And the Schoolhouse Theater was born."
Dancing At Lughnasa runs until October 8 at The Schoolhouse Theater, 3 Owens Road, Croton Falls. 914-277-8477.
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