Interview with Philip Connaughton – Assisted Solo – Dublin Fringe Festival
We had the chance to put some questions to Philip Connaughton ahead of the opening of Assisted Solo in the Dublin Fringe Festival. You can see the results below…
Preview Sep 07 @ 21:00 – Tickets €11
Dates Sep 08-10, 12-13 @ 21:00 – Tickets €16 / €14 conc.
Other performances Sep 15 @ 13:00 & 18:15
Duration 60 mins
Venue: Project Arts Centre Space Upstairs
Assisted Solo will also be performed at The Everyman, Cork on 22 September @ 20:00
What made you decide to make a show about your mother and her dementia?
I initially wanted to make a piece for myself and two other dancers. I was inspired by this YouTube clip of Lucille Ball and Shirley Maclaine dancing together. It was a Bob Fosse number with the older Ms. Ball showing the younger Ms. Maclaine that less is sometimes more, allowing the backing dancers to do most of the hard work. I decided to call it Assisted Solo as I was thinking about the idea of dance solos and I’ve never really felt it’s something I would do by myself – I’ve all this support around me, and that was really interesting.
At the same time I was looking after my mum and began to see the connection. I’m assisting her in her dance, in her solo but I’m also learning a great deal. It’s not always clear who’s assisting who.
When did you start work on this production? How long have you spent in rehearsal?
I’ve been working on it for about a year. I guess I’ve been thinking about it for much longer. Putting my mum in it was a bit of a surprise but I love how work reveals itself . That’s why it’s so exciting.
I knew I wanted to work with my creative team. Luca Truffarelli on lighting and sound design, Emily Ni Bhroin on costume and Bego Garcia on Lighting. I wanted to dance with French dance Artist Magali Caillet, who I’ve always admired, and long time collaborator Lucia Kickham. Two performers that blow my mind. Luca was coming to my mum’s house for about 6 months filming us together. She kind of has a crush on him and loves whenever he’s around so we had a lot of fun.
Magali lives in Nantes so I rehearsed a little with her there and with Lucia in Ireland. Then we joined forces the last couple of weeks in Dublin. Magali is loving Dublin- and Dublin is gonna love her! Actually, earlier in the year I was performing another Work of mine, Whack!!, in Marseille and was supposed to go straight to Nantes afterwords to work but I separated my clavicle from the rest of my shoulder so I had to go home and get it fixed. Whack!! is a violent piece but my shoulder is fine and we worked via skype when she was in the studio- that was a first!
Your productions are known for your sense of humour. Can we expect this to be a more serious production?
NO! lol. Well it has its moments but for me there’s something in humour that reaches deeper, or perhaps I find it easier to cry once I’ve had a laugh. It’s a piece about trying to remember, about not losing control but fundamentally it’s about love for another person so I don’t think it’s sad and we don’t need to be serious to be serious. Life is too ridiculous.
Will this be your most personal production ever?
Like anyone who makes work, so much of me goes into every piece I make but I guess the fact that my mum appears makes this particularly different. She’s not in a place where this was a choice. She lives in the present. When I show her the footage she doesn’t recognize herself. So I’ve had to be extra sensitive about what I show and how the audience will perceive it. I have to imagine what my mum from before would want. She’s like a little kid now and I’m very protective of her. So in that way yes is the answer.
What else are you looking forward to seeing in the Dublin Fringe Festival? Any productions you’d recommend?
God there’s so much…
I’m really looking forward to Liv O’Donoghue’s AFTER which runs in Project Arts Centre alongside my own show. Femme Bizarre’s Caged and Näher… Closer, Nearer, Sooner by Liz Roche Company.I’m fascinated by The Fattest Dancer at St. Bernadettes- I’m going to see that too!