Memory and Performance in Dublin’s Art Scenario: Brian O’Doherty and Sebastian Barry
Stefanelli, Maria Anita
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In 2008 Brian O’Doherty buried his alter ego, Patrick Ireland, in Dublin, as a consequence of peace having been restored in Northern Ireland. “We are burying hate”, said the New York artist of Irish origin, “it’s not often you get the chance to do that”. With Patrick’s masked effigy lain in a coffin the memory of past tragic times was spectacularized, and paved the way to a more luminous future. In the previous summer the staging of Sebastian Barry’s The Pride of Parnell Street focuses on a episode of domestic violence by a Dublin fellow on the occasion of “Italia ’90” world cup. By staging the anxieties and confronting the fears of the two protagonists, man and wife, who have since then lived separately, in a one-to-one dialogue disguised as a monologue, both the woman and the man end up recovering one’s freedom and one’s pride, respectively. Through the analysis of O’Doherty’s and Barry’s performance, the essay shows how the contemporary artistic and multicultural global ferments, and the new ethnic dimension since the rising of the Celtic Tiger have brought changes to the social texture of a nation marred by forced emigration. Also, a 2007 film directed by John Carney, Once, proposes, through the story of an Irish Guy and a Czech migrant Girl, a social cross section that could work in Dublin as well as, thanks to the new global cultural flows, in any other of today’s ethnoscapes and ideoscapes.