Dublin Fringe Festival: Finding Sympathy

Ella Daly/Amalgamotion's Finding Sympathy at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013

Ella Daly/Amalgamotion's Finding Sympathy at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013

Ella Daly’s story is a fascinating one. “Borrowed” from her family at the age of three by her childless aunt Grace, Daly spent the next nine years of her life under her aunt’s roof. Now, in her early thirties, Daly is trying to reconcile with the feelings of displacement and transience that her childhood experience provoked. This self-examination is prompted by Daly’s discovery of a box of love letters in an antique shop in Cork, which chart the actual romance between Nell Sawyer and Henry Philips in Dublin at the beginning of the twentieth century. These letters seem to remind Daly that fairy-tales do happen and are not solely the material of her precious Mills and Boons novels. With resonances of Virginia Woolf, Daly yearns for her own house, a room on one’s own, one that is big enough to house her “baggage.”

This is a heartfelt piece of confessional theatre. Daly’s account of her endeavour to find a home beyond mere bricks and mortar is refreshingly honest and her delivery is controlled and confident, yet still emotionally raw. Her creation of a makeshift house with salt on the New Theatre’s stage metaphorically alludes to the impermanence of her domestic dwellings thus far, whilst also creating an air of intimacy for the audience. Ella amicability and honesty ensure that this production never veers into the overtly sentimental. Despite its obvious cathartic functioning for the performer, her story is far from self-indulgent and never loses sight of its form.

Star rating: ★★★★

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Dublin Fringe Festival: Finding Sympathy by Ella Daly / Amalgamotion

18-21 September 2013

Produced by Ella Daly /Amalgamotion
In The New Theatre

Produced by Amalgamotion
Director: Gina Moxley
Creative Collaborator: Kim Porcelli
Lighting/ Sound Design and Production Manager: Aidan Crowe
Stage Manager: Sabrina Johnson
Photography: Shane Whisker
Production Assistant: Sarah Ní Riain
Marketing/Press: Michelle Daly Hayes