LAUNDRY at the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival is not a play. It’s an experience.
You walk through the old building on Sean McDermott Street…
…greeted by girls there, talking to them, looking into rooms, catching glimpses of lives, fragments of conversations and being part of the different stories – all true stories too – that are on display for you.
I was alerted to Laundry via ShameOfIreland at twitter.
Performing The Story Of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries (Part 1) bit.ly/pNVvrM You may Like to Comment?
I was visibly shaken on reading Ann Brien’s chilling account of the Laundry experience. She delivered it in such a vivid manner that it projected strongly in me the fear she felt at the time, as well as the experiences of Valerie, an ex-Goldenbridge inmate, which immediately came to the fore. As I had visited Valerie at the laundry as a teenager.
For a moment nothing happens. The three of us exchange relaxed quizzical glances, the last time we would make eye contact for the duration of the performance. Suddenly the small grid in the hall door is pulled open from where a pair of angry eyes peer out, flitting backwards and forwards across our faces. Then comes the sound of bolts being roughly dragged open. Once inside, the three of us are immediately separated.
The first woman is ushered into the tiny annex to the left of the first small hallway (see top image). The other lady to the opposite annex. A steel bucket half full of disinfectant is thrust into my hands and I’m told to remain where I am. From this moment onwards I’m completely drawn into the nightmarish scenario, reality and performance periodically blurring into one. I am genuinely scared, I had not expected this. Screams from the left annex make me jump sky high and through the door’s top plate glass pane I can see the outlines of two people struggling with each other. One voice male, the other female. Surely the woman who has just entered isn’t been attacked? I’m frozen to the spot but then reality checks in and tells me this is part of the storyline….for a while anyway.