The experience of moving into a new home is universal: yet each move is unique and forever etched in our memory. Dermot Bolger's 2012, Tea Chests and Dreams, was about what we do when the final box is unloaded from the removal van or taxi; about where our minds go as we unwrap cups, clocks and family heirlooms. It is about how we begin again.
From flats in Ballymun to new estates of Tallaght; from Irish emigrants returning from London in the 1970s to immigrants starting new lives here in the 2010s; from 1980s disco queens finding themselves isolated as young mothers in new estates to mature mothers whose children have grown up and who can strike to establish new and surprising identities, Bolger captured the voices and experiences of thirteen women spanning three generations and five decades. They whispered their dreams, danced their fears, and spoke aloud about their hopes. All his characters were on the cusp of new lives, striving to stay strong, and above all else, to find what it feels like to be truly at home.
This tender work was a celebration of what unites successive generations of women, from all backgrounds and walks of life, on their first nights in new lives, women for 'moving in' must also mean 'moving on'. As part of its celebratory nature, Bolger invited a different woman from the audience to share the stage each night and to add their own real-life stories to the mosaic of lives being portrayed. In a nationwide competition, women were invited to submit to Axis Ballymun a six hundred word account of their recollections of their first night in a new home. Each performance of the play commenced with a once off public reading of one such text by the woman who wrote it. This meant that each night of this play about first nights was truly a first night, with a new voice heard on the Irish stage and a new story added to the celebratory mosaic that was Tea Chests and Dreams.
The play, directed by Mark O'Brien and produced by Axis Ballymun was premiered at Axis on April 14th, 2012 and transferred to the Civic Theatre, Tallaght. It starred Kelly Hickey and Donna Anita Kilolaisen and is meant to be staged as a two-hander, while having an option for amateur groups to use a larger cast in certain circumstances. Right inquiries should be made via this website.in