top of page

Dancing at Lughnasa | Sault Ste. Marie | In Your Eyes Projects

Dancing at Lughnasa

The Author
Brian Friel

Brian Patrick Friel (January 9,1929 – October 2, 2015) was an Irish dramatist, short story writer and founder of the Field Day Theatre Company. He had been considered one of the greatest living English-language dramatists. He has been likened to an "Irish Chekhov" and described as "the universally accented voice of Ireland". His plays have been compared favourably to those of contemporaries such as Samuel Beckett, Arthur Miller, Harold Pinter and Tennessee Williams.

Recognized for early works such as Philadelphia, Here I Come! and Faith Healer, Friel had 24 plays published in a career of more than a half-century. Friel was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the British Royal Society of Literature and the Irish Academy of Letters. He was appointed to Seanad Éireann in 1987 and served until 1989. In later years, Dancing at Lughnasa reinvigorated Friel's oeuvre, bringing him Tony Awards (including Best Play), the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play.

Brien Friel, Theatre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, In Your Eyes Projects
The Story

This extraordinary play is the story of five unmarried sisters eking out their lives in a small village in Ireland in 1936. We meet them at the time of the festival of Lughnasa, which celebrates the pagan god of the harvest with drunken revelry and dancing. Their sparse existence is interrupted by brief, colorful bursts of music from the radio, their only link to the romance and hope of the world at large.


The action of the play is told through the memory of the illegitimate son of one of the sisters as he remembers the five women who raised him: his mother and four maiden aunts. He is only seven in 1936, the year his elderly uncle, a priest, returns after serving for twenty-five years as a missionary in a Ugandan leper colony. For the young boy, two other disturbances occur that summer. The sisters acquire their first radio, whose music transforms them from correct Catholic women to shrieking, stomping banshees in their own kitchen. And he meets his father for the first time, a charming Welsh drifter who strolls up the lane and sweeps his mother away in an elegant dance across the fields.


From these small events spring the cracks that destroy the foundation of the family forever. Widely regarded as Brian Friel's masterpiece, this haunting play is Friel's tribute to the spirit and valor of the past.

Brien Friel Plays 2, Theatre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, In Your Eyes Projects

The Director

Michael Hennessy

Michael Hennessy, In Your Eyes Projects, Theatre in Sault Ste. Marie

Michael joined Sault Theatre Workshop in 1972 and directed his first show in 1976. Since that time he has directed almost 90 productions for STW, Stage North, and Family Life Dinner Theatre. He has directed five ‘Best Productions’ at the QUONTA Drama Festival, receiving three ‘Outstanding Director Awards’ and earned an ‘Outstanding Director Award’ at the Theatre Ontario Festival in 1979. In 1982, Michael co-founded Family Life Theatre and over the next 34 years he has directed approximately 2000 one-act educational dramas which were presented across Ontario. He retired from Family Life Theatre in 2016 but theatre remains his passion. He is thrilled at the opportunity to direct Dancing at Lughnasa, one of the great plays of the modern era.

Producer: Terri Miller
Lighting Designer/Technical Mgr.: Rob Rock
Set Designer: Vernon Bailey
Stage Manager: Tracey McKiddie


Maggie Mundy...........Kaila O'Callaghan

Kate Mundy.......................Colleen Lavey

Agnes Mundy...........Randi Houston Jones

Rose Mundy............Courtney MacDonald

Michael Evans.................Marc Beaudette

Christina Mundy..................Elora Nelson

Father Jack Mundy................Chas Calam

Gerry Evans...................Andrew Naphan


Kaila O'Callaghan

Kaila O’Callaghan graduated from Queen’s University with a degree in Drama and English Literature. She has been involved in community theatre since her teen years and has been a part of many productions since that time in a variety of capacities. Her most memorable roles include performances with Sault Theatre Workshop as Monica in Sinners and Carolyn in Having Hope at Home and with Family Life Theatre as Barbara in Run for Your Wife and as Justine in The Love List. Her most recent role as mother to a six-year-old has kept her from stage for some time. She is so excited to make her return to stage with this particular show, a play she remembers reading and dreaming about performing since she was a young girl with an obsession for theatre and Ireland. She is so grateful to have an opportunity to play this incredible female role with this cast and crew and this director at this time. Go raibh maith agat!

Colleen Lavey has been active producing, directing and performing in numerous shows for the Chippewa Theater Guild, in Sault MI for the past fifteen years. Her favorite roles with the Guild include Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Joan in The Guys and Rita in Educating Rita. She has also performed the roles of Portia in Caesar, Death of a Dictator and Lizzie Borden in Blood Relations: The Legend of Lizzie Borden with the Sault Theatre Workshop.  Colleen has worked behind the scenes as the assistant director on several productions, as well as co-director for the productions of Anne of Green Gables, The Butler Did It, The Secret Garden and True West. She is a life-long resident of Sault Ste. Marie, MI.  She is married to her best friend, Brian, and together they have four children.

Colleen Lavey
Randi Houston Jones

Randi Houston Jones literally grew up in the theatre. Following in her parents footsteps, Randi has been involved in all aspects of theatre at one time or another. Including props, stage-managing, set design, producing, costumes, sound, and makeup, but her main love is acting and directing. Randi's first acting debut was in the Sault Theatre Workshop's production of Sweeney Todd. Since then she has acted in numerous productions with The Sault Theatre Workshop, Stage North, Musical Comedy Guild, and Pull Chain. Randi has also directed several productions over the years for the Sault Theatre Workshop, most recently Wrong For Each Other. This will be Randi’s first time working with In Your Eyes Projects and is very excited to be a part of it.

Courtney McDonald owes the start of her acting career to Stage 1 theatre company, which she was an active member of many moons ago. Since then she has worked with other local theatre companies such as Sault Theatre Workshop, Family Life Theatre, and most recently, in The Musical Comedy Guild's production of The Andrews Brothers. She worked with Michael on Don't Dress for Dinner, and jumped at the opportunity to work with him again on this beautiful show, Dancing at Lughnasa. She is looking forward to bringing the character of 'Rose' to life for you, and wants to leave you with this ol' Irish proverb:

"Dance as if no one were watching. Sing as if no one were listening. And live every day as if it were your last." - Anonymous

Courtney McDonald
Marc Beaudette

Marc Beaudette is delighted to be working once again with In Your Eyes Projects and with Michael Hennessy. Recent local credits include Girl in the Goldfish Bowl and God of Carnage with IYE Projects, Wrong For Each Other and Frozen with Sault Theatre Workshop, Noises Off with Shot in the Dark Productions and Don't Dress for Dinner with Family Life Theatre.

"Theatre is the art form of the present: it exists only in the present, and then it is gone"

Elora Nelson has been actively involved in the Sault theatre community, both on and off stage, for over the last three years. She began her adventures in theatre as May the Mayfly in Time Flies directed by Bob Cooper, and most recently made her directorial debut at Sault Theatre Workshop's One Act Festival.

Elora Nelson
Chas Calam

Chas Calam has been active in community theatre in Sault Ste Marie for 20 years, appearing in more than 70 local productions. Chas is thrilled to be part of this wonderful cast, crew and production and honoured to work once again with his friend Michael Hennessy.

Andrew Naphan was born and raised in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario.  He studied at St. Bernadette Catholic School (Go Blaze), Saint Basil Secondary (Go Saints), and the University of Windsor (Go Lancers).  This will be his fifth time performing on stage in the Soo and his second time performing on The TECH (Saint Mary's College) stage. He hopes you enjoy his performance as well as those of his fellow actors. They are all working hard to make you proud.

Andrew Naphan
In Your Eyes Projects presents Dancing at Lughnasa, Theatre in Sault Ste. Marie
bottom of page