Dancing at Lughnasa opened on Broadway in October, 1991 and won the 1992 Tony Award for Best Play.
This extraordinary play, widely regarded as Friel's masterpiece, is the study of five unmarried sisters, named for Friel's mother and sisters, ("those five brave, Glenties women") who live in a modest cottage in Donegal. On the threshold of the autumn of 1936, the household revolves around the eight year old love-child, Michael, and the Mundy brother priest, Uncle Jack, recently returned from 25 years in a leper colony in Uganda. Ancient tribal customs and Christian beliefs clash as the autumnal fires celebrating the Harvest God, Lugh, bathe the high grass in golden light and distant music on the radio floats across the fields.
The sisters, with unfailing courage and sweet forgiveness dance in a wild, final celebration of their way of life before it changes forever.