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Bluepatch Productions: Talking Theatre with Artistic Director Aoife Connolly

Aoife Connolly

Bluepatch Productions staged one of the hits of the 2010 Galway Theatre Festival with their play Memory Palace. Now, with the Festival once again upon us, Artistic Director of Bluepatch Productions, Aoife Connolly, meets with Barry Houlihan to discuss their new work and their aims and focus as a company.

Rushing from an evening rehearsal session to make this interview you can tell Aoife Connolly is in full Theatre Festival mode. For this year’s Festival, Bluepatch Productions are staging their latest work Chasing Butterflies. This will be staged in collaboration with Dragonfly Theatre, In the Garden. As Artistic Director of Bluepatch, Connolly outlines how the company came about and in what direction their hopes and aims are focused.

“Bluepatch started as an idea during my M.A. in Theatre Directing in U.C.D., but starting my own company was always part of the plan to be honest. I was a working actress before I decided to undertake the M.A. and before deciding to focus on directing.  I had always felt I was missing out on something or not contributing enough to the creative process. Becoming a director allowed me that opportunity to shape and create my own work.”

To read the rest of this interview on writing.ie click here

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Theatre

 

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The Memory Palace at Galway’s Theatre Festival

'Memory Palace' at Nuns Island theatre

Blue Patch productions staged their work-in-progress piece, The Memory Palace, as part of the third annual Galway Theatre Festival. Using characters and stories from Greek mythology, the playwright Jane Madden strives to explore the realms of our memory, our identity and the uncharted regions of our psyche. When we die we cross into the Underworld and are given a choice; to drink from the river Lethe and forget all our pain or to drink from the river Mnemsoyne and remember everything. Lottie chooses to remember but at what cost?

The black-box setting of Nuns Island theatre aptly mimics the purgatorial scene between memory and between realities. Aoife Connolly, who plays Lottie, the woman who is lost in time and place, is still and frozen, like a seated sphinx. “You are here”, she half acknowledges, half questions Mimi. “I was always here, since before” This exchange places the emphasis on what has already transpired, past actions that are beyond recollection by Lottie.

As she drinks the water of the river Mnemsoyne and memory becomes reticent, there is purpose to the goading of Andy Crowe’s Mimi, in forcing Lottie to remember, regardless of the pain this will bring. The past and thoughts, the working of Lottie’s mind are relayed on the screen projected behind the character, a blurred sequence of images that hint at what transpired. The imagery of the clothes force the realization of a ruined wedding, a distorted union; “My dress, his suit, his tie, that he wore for me”.

Aisling Quinn’s beautiful vocals and the staggered entrance on-stage of Andrea Scott forces a flashback like effect which presents a separate possibility; that the happy ending and wedding of Lottie is not her memory at all, but that of Scott’s character, Faye, who married the love and groom of Lottie. These overlapping lives and concentric stories blur the narrative and question who in fact owns the story.

Bluepatch’s production is extremely interesting and current. It has traces of works that trace the female reawakening to a lost and broken past, as Olwen Fouere hauntingly did is Sodome My Love and it also has parallels with works with other exciting groups such as The Company who explore the identity and memory of the modern form.

It is ironic that as a memory play, what Madden chooses to leave out and chooses to forget provides more of the story than we actually see.

www.bluepatchproductions.com

 

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2010 in Culture, Theatre

 

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