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A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse! (a famous one), 2015 — Irish Museum of Modern Art (Summer Rising)

Doireann Coady & Grace Dyas of Dublin theatre collective THEATREclub, will take up residence in IMMA’s studios during the Summer Rising Festival. Responding to the resonances of the inherited history of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, the pair will make a durational piece of performance in the Formal Gardens placing the spectator in history in the present tense.

Sample text from our durational performance at IMMA as part of Summer Rising, special thanks to Sarah Glennie, Helen O’Donoghue & Mary Cremin.

We are not sick. We are just old. We are here for a kind of publicity exercise. It would be very bad publicity if people could see us in the streets. If people could see us then they would not want to go to war. Essentially, we are hidden in here so people aren’t put off going to war. War is a good thing though. We need more land and more territories for the King and more colonies for the Queen ye know. I think that’s fair enough actually. In each window there are 12 pains of glass. I go for a walk every day. I try to walk a different way every day, but I am running out of variation. I am running out of variation. What would you like to take away from today’s session? What has been the most useful for you? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Last night I had a terrifying dream. Its obviously all this talk of horses. Horse on the brain. I dreamt that we got the horse. Magpie. I dreamt we got the horse and they delivered him to the house on Mountjoy Street. I thought he looked quite strange. I decided that I would stand him in the bath. You know so he wouldn’t trample things in the house. I petted him while he stood in the bath, his hair began to fall away into my hands. Completely fall away. He wasn’t a horse but a great dane which is a dog not a horse. Someone had attached human hair extensions to create a mane and a tail. Someone had given the dog a saddle. Suddenly when I turned around I was looking at a brown toy horse sitting in the bath and a great dane that was jumping around the bathroom. Thats just something that’s been on my mind. Not so much a regret but more just something that happened last night. Regrets I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention.

Here is a list of other famous horses that have names beginning with the letter A.
Adios: Leading sire of harness racehorses, Adios Butler: Famous harness racer, Affirmed: U.S. Triple Crown winner (1978), Ajax: 18 consecutive race wins, before he was defeated at 1/40. Albatross: Harness racer who won 59 of 71 races, and as a sire produced winners of over $130 million, including Niatross, Allez France: French Arc winner and first filly to win a million dollars, Alydar: Finished second to Affirmed in all three Triple Crown races, and a successful sire, American Pharoah: Last horse to win the U.S. Triple Crown (2015), Animal Kingdom: is an American Thoroughbred racehorse best known for winning the 137th Kentucky Derby and the 2013 Dubai World Cup. Aristides: Winner of the first Kentucky Derby, Arkle: Highest Timeform rating for a steeplechase horse racer, Assault: U.S. Triple Crown winner (1946). More on that later. Perhaps next time it will be B, or C.

I’m Irish in a very english place. I was retired to the curragh i was buried with full military honours — sorry, if you have just joined us this is the horse speaking now. I am an actor reading for the horse. I’m personifying the horse. I am a famous horse I am from bombay (these words were written by playwrights.) I am indian i was eaten by irish worms the worms ate my brave heart. I am an actor personifying a horse and I have to say my name now my name is say your name I was once in a play the play I was in was called insert name of play, director, writer, year performed, venue. In my current role I play the role of a military horse. The role I am playing right now before your eyes is the role of Vonolel famous horse buried here in a corner of Dublin. I am very short i am shorter than most horses i am white, I am a loyal friend to my master Earl Roberts he came to Dublin as Commander General of the British Army and that’s how I came to live here in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham- this was the headquarters of the COMMANDER GENERAL OF THE BRITISH ARMY. So I suppose a lot of important military decisions were made here. Visualise the entire building and all the grounds drenched and steeped in the blood of the colonial battlefield. I am not sure who said that me or the horse. I have the Kandahar Star. These Irish worms ate my brave Indian Heart. I have the Jubilee Medal. Earl Roberts never married. He was my friend. I was never sick nor sorry but i was often sick and sorry. I don’t know that’s conjecture. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. It’s hard to say what I felt because I was a horse. I am dead now and you are standing and sitting on my grave. You are on my blasted bloody grave. You are on my grave and we are dancing on the grave of a brave OF A BRAVE WAR HORSE NAMED VONOLEL NAMED AFTER A MAN HIS MASTER KILLED. A brave Indian Chief KILLED by a BRITISH COMMANDER GENERAL called Vonolel. That is why I am called Vonolel I am named after a man that was killed by my master. I saw war, I saw the abject terror of war.

Cast & Crew

    • Created by
    • Doireann Coady
    • Grace Dyas
    • Performed by
    • Shane Byrne
    • Gemma Collins
    • Rebecca Guinnane
    • Sean Kennedy
    • Magpie The Horse