Possession by Amanda Coogan

  • Projects

14-18 June 2022

Possession by artist Amanda Coogan is a living installation focusing on the female figure and the ideas of re-discovery of lost female artists including Irish artist Teresa Deevy and artists featured in the exhibition Eva Gonzalés is what Dublin needs.

Artist Amanda Coogan was invited by the Hugh Lane Gallery’s Education department to create/perform a work in response to themes explored in the exhibition Eva Gonzales is What Dublin Needs. Coogan’s installation The Possession Project explored the subject of the rediscovery of lost female artists, much like the Gonzales exhibition, with a particular focus on female figures. Coogan’s performance, as always, was thought provoking and visually stimulating and is available to view here below.   Her work also referenced James Joyce’s Ulysses as her installation was presented through 18 chapters  with her performance evolving from Gallery 18 through the Gonzales exhibition gallery spaces and back to Gallery 18. Coogan’s performances in the Hugh Lane were part of her research into the Irish playwright Teresa Deevy and a wish to create a work that does justice to Deevy’s ballet Possession which was never performed. Stunnning footage of Amanda’s performance at the Hugh Lane with collaborators from the Dublin Theatre of the Deaf and the South East Technological University was aired on RTÉ television as part of the documentary Tribute: The Teresa Deevy Story and can be viewed here https://www.rte.ie/player/movie/tribute-the-teresa-deevy-story/326740520026

This performance at the Hugh Lane Gallery was presented as part of the Hugh Lane Gallery’s education programmes accompanying Eva Gonzales is what Dublin needs, June 2022. 

For further details please contact Jessica O’Donnell e. [email protected] or Cleo Fagan e. [email protected]

  • About The Possession Project

    Teresa Deevy is the focus of The Possession Project. Amanda Coogan’s performance was  an odyssey in eighteen episodes.

    Teresa Deevy, is the focus of The Possession Project. This performance was  an odyssey in eighteen episodes. Teresa Deevy was a playwright who wrote vividly for and about women in the Ireland of the 1930s. She was also deaf.  Collaborating with deaf artists Lianne Quigley and Alvean Jones, Coogan explores Deevy’s unpublished script Possession, a ballet treatment. Deevy’s script for Possession is short—only three pages in total—and presents an outline of the story of the Táin told from Queen Maeve’s perspective. Irish Sign Language is the key choreographic tool. Describing The Possession Project Coogan says ‘Deevy takes a woman’s view of the story of the Táin and we are reading and creating it through our collective knowledge and understanding of Teresa Deevy’s work and her interests. The intersecting layers of knowledge, understanding and interpretation makes the project rich and exciting to work on.’ Waterford playwright Teresa Deevy’s work is currently enjoying a renaissance. The Peacock and the Abbey in Dublin, the Mint Theatre, New York and Garter Lane Arts Centre in Waterford have produced Deevy’s plays in recent years. For a dramatist whose work fell into relative obscurity for many decades this is an impressive catalogue of interest and events. Adding to this momentum, performance artist Amanda Coogan, collaborating with artists and theatre makers Alvean Jones and Lianne Quigley, staff and students from SETU and the Dublin Theatre of the Deaf, will share their interpretation of Deevy’s little-known ballet Possession during Coogan’s residency in the Hugh Lane Gallery; 14 – 18th June. Coogan calls her current exploration of Deevy’s work The Possession Project. In 2017 Coogan directed Dublin Theatre of the Deaf in a ‘shapeshifting’ of Deevy’s one-act play, The King of Spain’s Daughter, called Talk Real Fine, Just Like a Lady in the Peacock Theatre. Quigley and Jones co-created and performed in that production which reimagined Deevy’s 1930s text as a contemporary commentary on how sexism, ableism and audism (prejudice against d/Deaf people) continues to impact on and in Irish society today.

    Talk Real Fine was highly critically acclaimed confirming the Coogan, Quigley and Jones’ reputations as innovative and exciting interpreters of Deevy’s work. All three artists have unique insights into Deaf culture and Deaf experience as Coogan, an internationally renowned performance artist, is also a hearing CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) and Jones and Quigley are Deaf. Their consideration of Deevy’s work offers a uniquely interesting interpretation opportunity because Deevy was deafened in her early adulthood and created characters not simply through her use of dialogue and event but through inscribing action, reaction and intention on and through actors’ bodies and through her use of costume and stage properties.

    Performance schedule and performers:

    Tuesday 14th, Wednesday 15th & Friday 17th June 2022: Amanda Coogan

    Thursday 16th June 2022: South East Technical University

    Úna Kealy; Kate Mc Carthy; Jenny O’Connor; Catherine Bradley; Dawn Murray; Janice Lacharmante; Naja Klemperer; Liam Hickey; Brendan Ahern
    With Alvean Jones and Amanda Coogan

    Friday 18th Juen 2022: Dublin Theatre of the Deaf

    Damien Owens, Breda O’Grady; Ela Cichocka; Mark Mc Caffrey. With Alvean Jones and Amanda Coogan