Acclaimed 'Dancing' to grace Hammond stage

2012-08-10T10:00:00Z Acclaimed 'Dancing' to grace Hammond stageBy Tim Shellberg Times Correspondent
August 10, 2012 10:00 am  • 

Andy Leahy, director of Hammond Community Theatre's production of "Dancing at Lughnasa," sees an important like lesson to be learned in playwright Brian Friel's acclaimed tale.

"There is a lot of sadness and death and all kinds of awful things in life that we have to face," he said. "But what Brian's talking about here is that we grab those moments that we can to live lives with each other and love each other and care about each other."

Opening Aug. 17 and running through Aug. 26 at Hammond's Beatniks on Conkey, "Dancing" chronicles the familial trials and tribulations of the seven Mundy siblings in their struggles with their pasts and present lives in a tiny Irish town in the mid 1930s.

Penned by Irish scribe Friel, who also wrote award-winning works such as "Translations" and "Philadelphia, Here I Come," "Dancing" made its debut in his homeland in 1990 before making its way to Broadway two years later. It took home a trio of Tony Awards and a pair of Drama Desk Awards.

"Dancing" was adapted for the big screen, with Meryl Streep taking on the role of sister Kate Mundy.

"The language appealed to me, the way he uses very Irish, very lyrical language to build these characters and how they relate to each other," Leahy said of Friel's tale. "They're three–dimensional characters, very human and with a wide range of emotions, all of them."

Deb Cairns from Park Forest portrays eldest sister Kate in Hammond Community Theatre's production of "Dancing" and is joined onstage by Beecher's Karen Cassin, Kaci Antkiewicz and Linda Hart, both from Homewood, and Tara Shulte–Peters from Bolingbrook as fellow sisters Maggie, Christina, Agnes and Rose, respectively.

"I've directed a number of plays and I've directed some of them and worked with almost all of them onstage, and they're very dedicated actors," Leahy said of his cast. "They work very hard at creating their characters and they're very talented. It's been a great experience watching them pull this all together."

Next up for Hammond Community Theatre is the holiday play "Dashing Through the Snow," scheduled to open at Beatniks on Dec. 7.

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