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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Stage Review

Recalling fleeting joy in Brian Friel’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’

WELLESLEY — Memory plays require a dreamy atmosphere delicately blended with a few sharply defined details. The Wellesley Summer Theatre Company’s lovely production of “Dancing at Lughnasa” reaches that threshold and surpasses it, with an ensemble that embodies all of playwright Brian Friel’s tenderness for his fragile characters.

Our narrator, Michael (Will Bouvier), takes us back in time to the imaginary Irish village of Ballybeg, County Donegal, in the summer of 1936, when he was a young boy surrounded by his mother and aunties, and life was full of possibilities. The Lughnasa of the title is the Celtic harvest festival, a celebration of bounty before winter sets in — apt for this moment of joy before deprivation engulfs the family.

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