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Helen O'Leary


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A daughter longs to guide her mother through the hardest of journeys of memory loss, paving a way with her own remembrance; for memory is an actor’s most powerful tool. Before the settling and subsidence of life, Hayley prepares to perform a show to honour her mother, Joan. Death is never convenient and despite the theatre being booked, posters printed, and tickets sold, it comes for Joan just before opening night. Subsidence gives grace to deep wounds laid bare as memory fails but love endures; deep, fathomless, patient love. A love that has come full circle, filled with hope and promise. The actor strides across grey days of grief, into the all-conquering silver spotlight of centerstage, to share a life well-loved and lived.

'Subsidence is a beautiful and tender rendering of memoir, driven by the author’s need to remember and honour her mother, who lived with dementia. O’Leary pulls the threads of memory together in a mesmerising weave: a gossamer spell. Her lived experience of theatre and her childhood with her mother are woven across timelines both past and present in this stunning experimental work. Subsidence is vital reading for those with loved ones experiencing memory loss.'
– Anna Jacobson (Author of Amnesia Findings)
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