Prior to the opening of Quotidian Theatre Company’s next play, Brian Friel’s Irish drama Dancing at Lughnasa, several actors in the cast are writing here about various experiences they have during the rehearsal process.
Last week, Steve LaRocque wrote about a dance rehearsal that nearly got the better of him. Today, Alyssa Sanders writes about her character in this, her first Quotidian show.
I am thrilled to be included in the cast of Dancing at Lughnasa at Quotidian Theatre Company — and am ever so hopeful that I will pronounce “Lughnasa” correctly. We have an incredible dialect coach, in the form of one Gary Sullivan. And while my Irish accent has truly bloomed, for some inane reason, that one word does not come trippingly off my tongue. Well, maybe it does trip — and then fall flat on its “arse.” I blame the friends who kept saying “lasagna” while I prepared for my audition. And I have no doubt they will be in the audience wishing they were playing some sort of drinking game every time I utter the word “Lughnasa.”
Truly, I’m well on my way to pronouncing the word correctly. Now I’m focusing on my character. I play Rose, the sister that playwright Brian Friel calls “simple.” She’s 32, with the mind of a child. I’ve been watching children at play — remembering what it was like to feel and play without the worry of being judged. There is a joy, an openness that is so lovely about Rose. And I’m certain others would do well to follow her lead of being open to the world around her.
I think the most difficult aspect of Rose is that she is aware that she’s different. It’s obvious her sisters love her and she them. But there are moments when a sister gets tired of her babbling and makes a hurtful remark, even ever so slightly, in connection to her difference, and Rose is once again reminded that she is not like the others. Her “wise mind” has difficulty engaging. She speaks before she thinks, and while that can have negative results, truths come out. I’d tell you what they are (Rose certainly would), but I don’t want to give too much away.
Why don’t you come see the show for the answers? And, as an added bonus, you can listen to me say “Lughnasa.”
Brian Friel’s masterpiece Dancing at Lughnasa is a drama about five unmarried sisters eking out their lives in a small Irish village in 1936. It won the 1992 Tony Award for Best Play, and Time Magazine called it “the most elegant and rueful memory play since The Glass Menagerie.” Our production opens April 20. Tickets and further information are available here.