Hidden Cultures, Public Platform

Big thanks to Rosaleen Mcdonagh and the cast of Mainstream at The Project Theatre, Dublin tonight, a very relevant socio-political play.
Many layers, many themes, many betrayals, including the betrayal of one’s own body. This play needs to be taken on tour to educate this nation about our collective cruelties, our indifference, our racism and the crimes we perpetrate on each other.
This is a brave courageous work by a fantastic playwright, who has travelled the long road of prejudice. She operates in her own uniqueness and compliments the great work of Christy Brown, Paddy Doyle, the Pecker Dunne and of course Sean O Casey.
While the work is about class, prejudice,Travellers, mainstream society written by a female playwright, it’s literary scope is universal and all-embracing. While disability is also a theme that runs through this work it is extremely intelligently portrayed and given expression of great integrity and is not reliant on any gimmicks or tricks. These are proud people, strongly portrayed by some of the finest acting I’ve seen anywhere. (Donal Toolan, John Connors, Grainne Hallahan and Neili Conroy – cast)
These characters are human beings like ourselves different and equal and their pain is like our pain. It’s a deeply humanising piece and sparks off the idea in us all that we all have a bit of a flaw. We all have our abilities and disabilities. We are all prejudice to one another.
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Cast of Mainstream – Donal Toolan, Grainne Hallahan, John Connors, Neili Conroy – Written by Rosaleen McDonagh

But Rosaleen McDonagh is a great playwright who won’t remain silent and fights that prejudice. Won’t be stereotyped. Won’t be pigeon-holed or marginalised, no matter what. She takes on feminism, male prejudice, class divide, racism, disability, traveller culture, child abuse, body betrayal and gay identity in one great lash of the pen. Excellent.
 
The centre of the work is about exclusion, prejudice and marginalisation but she manages to bring us as an audience and a public right into her fold.
I felt great coming out of this play even though its themes were dark. This playwright has kicked the door open into the light, and it’s very welcome. Anybody who has any prejudice or any doubts about the Travelling community or any ‘othered’ member of society should get to see this work.
Arts Council, Dublin City Council and all ye people out there with the public purse make sure this play gets out on a National tour – Please – for all our sakes.
This is a work of national importance.  
Outstanding honesty.

Rest in Peace, Christine Buckley

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Christine Buckley gave hope and living voice to the many who suffered in silence in Ireland’s Residential Institutions and throughout their lives.  She will be greatly missed but her strong voice will be heard forever.  Rest in Peace.

Then they put me into a car zoom zoom, beep beep over O’Connell Bridge, past the Ha’penny Bridge, along Capel Street Bridge. All alone all along the Liffey I cried like the canal to the gates of Goldenbridge. At Goldenbridge, the nuns said that they were my sisters now. ‘Now, now, stop that crying or we’ll give you something to cry about. Christ didn’t cry. Christ wasn’t a whinger.’ I cried, I screamed for me ma, yelled for me da. Then all the kids there started to cry like me. We screamed through the clatters in the face, the lashes across the back of our legs, the smashing of our heads against the doors.
‘Mary is our mother now and God is our Father. Repeat, Mary is our mother now and God is our Father. ‘Tis the Divil that has you all crying. ‘Tis the Divil so that we’ll be getting out of here, only the Divil. James, that’s a lovely boy’s name. Stop that crying now. Silence is golden, boys and girls. Silence is golden. St James, a lovely saint.’
I rocked back, I rocked forward. I rocked in silence for a day, for a week maybe two. I cried until I was dry. I bit my lip; I bit my nails; I pissed the bed; I rubbed my eyes; I bit the boy beside me, I bit the girl beside me. They both bit me back. The nuns and the priest battered us all. Screamed at us that we were bold and evil and that they were going to put us into the washing machine to wash our souls of sin, souls of sin, souls of sin. I rocked back and forth till one day somebody came and picked me up into their arms and took me back home, to my ma, to my da and all the family and another new baby. Silence is golden, golden, in Goldenbridge. Ssssssh.  (James X)

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