"Go maire sibh chomh fada is mian libh, Is ná raibh gátar oraibh chomh fada is a mhaireann sibh."
May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.
I first travelled to Ireland in the spring of 1984 and knew immediately it was a place I would return to. On my 5th trip in 2006, I found myself driving a “green” road in the Burren in County Clare. I stopped at what looked like a farming road and started walking…I soon noticed a megalithic stone, which I later learned was a pre-Christian well and children’s burial ground. On the stone was a simple, & stylized carving of a child’s face. I took some photos and drew a sketch. That night as I wrote in a travel journal I felt a fascination forming…the road was the Famine Road also know as The Burren Way. In June 2009, I returned and shot some video, the true beginning of this project. I was moved to learn this road was built by those whose homes and crops were devastated by the potato blight in the mid 19th century in exchange for food and if they were lucky a bed in a workhouse. Between the years 1845 and 1852, over one million people died and another million left Ireland. Some died on what came to be called coffin ships…boats that went back and forth from Ireland to North America, never letting anyone off.
The juxtaposition of this calamity and the beauty of the Irish landscape coupled with the spirit & humor of the Irish people triggered me to create this work. My intentions are to draw upon this history as a metaphor, rather than to create a historical depiction. All of us are vulnerable, all of us exquisite, all of us wasteful. We all subscribe to hope and possibility. We bear responsibility for our choices yet, we sometimes have no choice in our predicaments. “one potato, two potato”, looks at the delicate balance between devastation and beauty, hardship and triumph.
I want to extend my gratitude to Ella Baff, the Pillow staff and my colleagues at Community Access to the Arts for their support in the creation and fruition of this work. In October 2010, my dancers and I had the honor of working in the Doris Duke Theatre for one week as part of the Pillow’s Creative Development Residency Program. It was during this week that we established the basis for “one potato, two potato”. We were delighted and honored that the premiere in September 2011 was in Doris Duke Theatre, the very space the work was nurtured…
one potato, two potato
Photos: Christina Lane
Cast: Lorimer Burns, Jane Goodrich, Dawn Lane, Bettina Montano, Leslie Nelson, Diane Prusha
Moving Company Dancers: Hazel Elsbach, Hope Garner, Natasha Lorick, JoAnne King, Marissa Rose