PuSh Blog

Bearing witness: I’m Not Here—a curatorial statement by Ann Connors

January 12, 2018

A bare stage, a soundtrack of manipulated sounds that signify a lifetime through voices, stories and song; those items we cling to, those things that help us to immortalize what we have lost. A chair (the chair, THAT chair, THAT DAMN chair) embodying a brother who has chosen to leave her. And a stunning performance by Doireann Coady, a performance in which she bares all and in which she shares her love, her longing and her anger at his leaving—exposed and raw and full of heart and soul. These are the elements of I’m Not Here.

I first saw I’m Not Here as a work in development at the Dublin Festival. It kicked me in the stomach.

Photo: Dorje de Burgh

Created and performed by Doireann Coady, one of the creative collaborators of Dublin’s THEATREclub, an ensemble who create because we think theatre can change the world, by starting conversations that send ripples towards social change,” the THEATREclub collective are one of Dublin’s preeminent theatre makers.

This is Doireann’s debut as a solo author. In this work she asks us to shed our discomfort around death and grief and to join her in this prayer to her brother, to bear witness to her grief and to help her heal. It’s an exquisite performance, described by Deirde Falvey in her review from The Irish Times as “like eavesdropping on an injured soul…”  It is a piece that takes Doireann and her audience through these stages of grief and loss. Those moments that we cannot let go of. Cannot move past. Cannot bury. And she does so with tenderness, with love, with humour, with regret and with anger. Grief is a difficult subject to tackle. You won’t walk out of the theatre singing after this one. No happy ending here.

But it is essential theatre; theatre that gets to the heart and soul of the human experience. Doireann wants her audience to feel everything she’s felt since her brother took his life. Her anger, her hurt, her pain, her guilt and her gut-wrenching loss. She is not looking to find the reasons why her brother left, not trying to reconcile his leaving.  She is simply grieving. And in exposing her grief shares with us all her life with, and love of her brother.

We have all been there before.

And we are here with her now.

Ann Connors
Artistic and Managing Producer
High Performance Rodeo


I’m Not Here comes to PuSh as part of the Spotlight on Ireland program, highlighting Irish performance makers. Coady is a fearsome new talent in the Irish theatre scene and will lead you into darkness and back out again—an experience you won’t soon forget.

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