Whenever a moon can make it’s way into an illustration project, I’m happy. And I am over the moon to be working with Portland Stage on their 2015/16 season. In frigid January, I began illustrating all the posters, starting with the season opener, Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel.

I played my wee stash of Irish music while sketching, to help me capture the energy and spirit of the five Mundy sisters. These are a few of my preliminary sketches.




The above design was chosen. I also visited a moonrise on the backshore, adding to my inspiration. Moon cycles are well observed in this house, thanks to my participation in the Lunar Calendar for the last 30 years.

At fullness, the moon is often fat and pink and rather shy upon the horizon. But as she moves up into the sky, she shines even brighter.


Lughnasa is a Gaelic festival celebrated in Ireland and Scotland usually between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox. In Brian Friel’s play, the unmarried sisters all recall their former revelries on the hill, with wild dancing and bonfires. We haven’t learned any step-dancing yet, but we love having bonfires!

My final illustration is a mix of greens with transparent layers, like the dancers are part solid, part memory.


Portland Stage’s production is dedicated to actress Susan Reilly, who died last year. She and her husband, Tony Reilly, co-founded the American Irish Reperatory Ensemble. Tony played the narrator, Michael, who appears onstage to lyrically spin the memories of that late summer in 1936, as well as stand-in as the voice of his younger self at the edges of the drama.


My posters are all in the lobby, a rather graphic back-drop before the show.


Anita Stewart always creates incredible set designs! The kitchen is a tableau of inert furniture, on the verge of becoming dynamic devices for the joy and intrigue of Friel’s drama.

Having read the script, the moment before the play begins I am edgy with anticipation. Bryon Winn’s lighting made the most of the brilliant full moon that slowly rose over the stage as the actors began their dreamy movements. Both the performances and dancing were powerful, flooding my Irish soul.

Go see, and bring some lunacy with you!


One Comment

  1. Loved your entire description. Especially the”rather shy upon the horizon: Go,girl!

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