“Dance” to Rafters for opening night

"Dancing at Lughnasa" opens Friday, April 21. (Photo Courtesy of millersville.edu)

Josh Rittberg

Staff Writer

“Dancing at Lughnasa”, which begins its two week run at Rafters Theatre on April 21, is an Irish memory play that tells the story of a man named Michael who is in his 30s in 1960 when the play begins. Michael is looking back on his childhood when he was seven years old with his mother and her four sisters.  The play is narrated by Michael, and throughout the play, he remembers the events that shaped him and his family in their last happy moments before breaking apart.  

Kevin Ditzler, who is directing this production says, “In the play, Michael performs as himself in his thirties while also performing as his seven-year-old self.” Although the theatrical productions at Millersville have been largely contemporary this season, Ditzler believes “this production will really be a chance to bring a classic to life.”

The set, which is designed by Millersville’s own Jordan Rippon, creates an environment where Michael’s memories can resurface. The house portion of the set, for instance, is made up of various pieces which includes a yard and a chimney, instead of a complete structure. Rippon’s vision was based off of the idea that “memory comes back in pieces, and is captured through pictures.”

This particular production of “Dancing at Lughnasa” is performed in an alley setting with the audience members sitting on all sides of the stage. Victoria Whitney who plays one of the sisters, says that “She can’t imagine this show being done any other way.” The intimate set is designed to make the audience feel like they are sitting in on Michael’s memories.  

Although this play is a classic, the cast believes that the themes are just as timeless as any show this season. According to Whitney, “While most of the characters are much older than the students here at Millersville, the play at its center is still the story of a group of siblings trying to come to terms with change.”

“Dancing in Lughnasa” runs at Rafters Theatre from April 21 through April 30. Tickets can be purchased in the SMC for MU students for $5. Students can also buy their tickets at the door for $7 with their student ID. Tickets are $10 for adults.