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Patch Work

Patchwork - On the night of the Bataclan terrorist attacks a young French man tries to contact home. Hurtling through Dublin’s nightlife he wrestles with memories of his emerging sexuality, nationality and identity. Growing up overnight, he holds a mirror to Ireland and the Irish and how the land of a thousand welcomes can sometimes treat strangers with contempt. It’s a fast paced, dynamic story which brings us around an all-too-familiar cityscape, this time, however, we see it through an ‘outsiders’ eyes.

I am at my most honest when write. Somehow, seven year-old me takes the wheel and he is fearless. But until fairly recently wasn’t able to be as brave as my child-self in the real world.

I started writing Patchwork a few months after leaving drama school. was 20 and knew sweet fuck all about what kind of an adult wanted to be. was sad and, frankly, pretty lost.

It wasn’t called Patchwork at the time, it was called little poem thingies about personal super private moments of my life that no one is ever ever going to read.

Whipping out my notebook or scribbling on paper towels became a habit and a healthy way of reflecting on my life in Ireland. If anything interesting or sad happened would write a little poem about it. also started to write down people’s voices and stories, the way they talked, their Hiberno-English grammar. It was an unfiltered record of my life here, with all the greatness and micro-aggressions and ‘oh you wouldn’t get it because you’re not from here’. The many colourful characters get to play in Patchwork are all inspired by real people, some are an amalgamation of a few different individuals but all the things they say are things Irish people have said to me or in front me at some point or another.

I started writing about my old life in France too. think was trying to figure out where and when had boxed away the more colourful parts of myself. It also came from a place of anger and frustration with the political situation over there and as a rebellion against an idea people have of France as opposed to the reality of what the country is really like.

About a year out of college fell in love with a guy for the first time. Neither of us had ever been with a man before. It was big, huge even, life-changing. Discovering this entirely new side of my sexuality was (and still is) quite the ride but it also freed me up a lot. With his support and the support of a few very good friends started to turn my little poems into a play.

There was a lot of raw material, a lot of unusable stuff but somewhere in there was a story and with director Tracy Martin’s help was able to weave all the pieces together. Being in a happy relationship and feeling at home in Ireland made me braver and Patchwork became more critical and political. The play turned into a way to examine my position as a queer French Dubliner, it allowed me to address France’s colonial past and racist present and to ask some questions about Ireland along the way. It’s a very personal piece and, at times while writing it, wondered would anyone be in anyway interested in hearing this story or was just doing it for myself.

I still worry about that sometimes but sure look, sure listen, fuck it let’s have a bitta craic and c’est la vie honey!

Patchwork’ presented by Red Bear Productions runs in Bewley’ Cafe Theatre from March 24 until April 4. Visit www.bewleyscafetheatre.com for tickets and details.

This article appears in the 363 Issue of GCN

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This article appears in the 363 Issue of GCN