Week #6 Artist in Residence

As I sit here in the green room in almost stillness except for my fingers tapping the keyboard I am soothed by the transcendental sounds of Orbital  and reminded of journeys, one of the themes I set out to explore in week #1. I myself have been taken on a journey and find myself sitting in the green room each week or out in the main space of the Courthouse and allowing my discoveries to permeate through the layers of my understanding. I am not yet interested in the whys and wherefores but I am intrigued by the questions I need to ask, the expression I need to find and the world I need to create.

I am referring back today to Week #6 and the heading on my notebook says ‘Superstitions and Folklore‘ and I really feel compelled to write about it. I am not allowed to move forward until I have re examined my findings and when I write it all down the connections and powerful associations start their dance and present to me little moments of imagined pictures forming in the air around me.I feel slightly obsessed sometimes with one thought and that thought is of the ‘widow‘ or the woman left alone and the (god forbid) woman who chooses to remain single , the ‘spinster’ as she would have been called in times gone by.

I read a lovely excerpt on women who lived alone and our lovely Irish saying of ‘back in the day‘  there was a fear of leaving women to their own devices, while the men were out at work, there were fears of haunting and enchantment associated with desolate places and the danger of madness.

Then another fantastic verbal account from a woman living alone, from the book, Wicklow History and Society There’s nothing I fear like the thunder. My heart isn’t strong- I do feel it- and I have a lightness in my head and often when I do be excited with the thunder I do be afeard I might die there alone in the cottage and no one know it”. There is a weird and wonderful sense of fear about this and the soundscape of the thunder and the poor woman confined to her cottage in this ‘peculiar climate‘ one of J M Synges descriptions of the Wicklow hills. Then you had the poor unfortunate unmarried woman who became pregnant and would be’.read out from the altar’. It is no longer a mystery or silent knowledge of what happened to these women. It harps back to the caging of the woman in a literal sense and by society. Women were not to be trusted and this has not changed too much in Irish society, just look at the eight ammendment.

My research took me on a little imaginative trip down memory lane on reading the account of Samuel Leonard Weir  found in Tinahely library about the village of Tinahely with its inhabitants occupying the still standing houses and shops, from dressmakers, grocers, carpenters,druggists,bakers,postmasters,miller, farmer, victualler, painter and decorator to doctors and boarding houses. I can almost visualise these characters standing at their doors, to greet me as I pass on by. History has a way of helping us to imagine the past from different eyes and much like in acting we embody the spirit and the soul.

There is so much material to be found in history and events of the past and an almost exercising of the past may be required in some cases.I am trying to find my purpose as an artist to tell the stories which need to be told. I am determined to do this using physical theatre and dance as this is something I long to do and know I can do. As I sit and look at the tapestry on the wall in the Green room it reminds me that I have to create my own tapestry of ideas, images and happenings and focus on the ones that have that spark about them, and listen. I need to listen.



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