This month critically acclaimed choreographer Philip Connaughton brings his beautiful, sparkling, laugh-out-loud meditation on the fear of forgetting and of being forgotten to Cork and Dublin venues. Mamafesta Memorialising, which enjoyed its successful international premiere in France last year, is woven from inspirations including musical theatre, Bruce Forsythe’s Generation Game and most importantly, Philip’s mum Madeleine, who has senile dementia.
Philip made his last piece, Assisted Solo, about her. But it wasn’t enough. He still has more to do and more to say. He’s worried that what’s happening to her will happen to him. His latest testimony to an ever-evolving, ever richer relationship between son and mother is a memory exercise for three male dancers. All pushing to see how much abstract information our bodies can retain. (“I put my fellow dancers through hell,” notes Philip, who made them memorise over a thousand gestures for the piece.)
The title Mamafesta Memorialising comes from a line from the Irish writer James Joyce’s epic novel Finnegan’s Wake. It references a letter (or manifesto) written by Annalivia Plurabelle. Annalivia represents the archetypal female character in this extremely complex masterpiece and though she may not be a classic heroine she is very definitely all essence. “It is this essence or shifting between past present and future that reminds me of the fragility of our own identity,” says Philip. “If we are more than the sum of our parts what’s left as some of those parts disappear. Who are we when it’s all gone?”
Following Assisted Solo, which examined how we deal with the ageing body whilst also celebrating the roles we play in ‘assisting’ each other, in Mamafesta Memorialising it’s Philip’s own demons he’s dealing with. His need to tell his stories. To not forget or be forgotten.
Philip Connaughton : Choreographer/Performer
Kevin Coquelard : Performer
Julien Gallee Ferre : Tatanka Gombaud
Luca Truffarelli : Sound Design/Videographer
Emily Ni Bhrion : Costume Design
Begonia Garcia Navas : Lighting Design/Production Manager
Marella Boschi : Stage Manager
Maura O’Keeffe : Producer
Philip Connaughton is a choreographer/performer from Dublin. He trained locally and then went on to study at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London. As a choreographer, his first solo, Embody, was created during a residency at Movement Research (NYC). Since then he has been performing his work both at home and abroad. He was artist in residence at axis:Ballymun  where he created Mortuus Est Philippus which he performed as part of Dublin Dance Festival and Festival Instances, Chalon-sur-Saône. He was associate artist of Dance Ireland in 2013 and in 2014, he formed Company Philip Connaughton and made a large-scale ensemble piece Tardigrade that won best design in the Tiger Dublin Fringe Awards. His lecture-performance Dance Uncovered (sensational) was featured in DDF 2015. Following that, he created Whack!! in collaboration with Ashley Chen of Compagnie Kashyl, Paris which has toured extensively throughout France and Ireland. He then made Extraterrestrial Events which previewed at studio le Regard du Cygne in Paris and then premiered at DDF 2017. In 2018 ASSISTED SOLO, was created for Dublin Fringe Festival’s 2018 programme. It was nominated for Best Production, Best Design, and Best Performer.
The company’s most recent work Mamafesta Memorialising premiered at KLAP, maison pour la danse, Marseille and will be performed at Cork Opera House and at Project Arts Centre, Dublin in the new year.
Also working in theatre and opera, Philip’s credits include The Threepenny Opera (The Gate Theatre -Dublin Theatre Festival), Noel Coward’s The Vortex (The Gate Theatre), Der Vampyr, Faust (The Everyman Theatre), The Bloody Irish (PBS TV, America), Elevator, I’m Your Man and RIOT (THISISPOPBABY – Dublin Theatre Festival). Annie, The Wizard of Oz, The Cork Proms (Cork Opera House), Much Ado About Nothing (Rough Magic-Kilkenny Arts Fest.).
Philip is a Project Arts Centre Resident Artist.
Co-produced by Klap- Maison pour la Danse and Cork Opera House
Made in Association with Project Arts Centre
Supported by Le Centre Culturel Irlandais, La Briqueterie du Val de Marne, Micadanse, Paris, and studio le Regard du Cygne, Paris.