Patricia Burke Brogan’s powerful play Eclipsed is based on her experiences as a young novice in one of the notorious Magdalene Laundries in Ireland in the 1960’s.
Eclipsed tells the story of five young unwed mothers, scorned not only by society, but by their own families. Considered fallen, they were locked up in one of the infamous laundries and forced to endure heavy labor and physical and emotional abuse under the watchful eyes of strict and often callous nuns. Some girls fought to regain their childhoods, while others fought to regain their children. Often these girls fought until their last breaths.
The Magdalene Laundries operated for over 100 years. The last one closed in 1996. They generated income by taking in laundry from local businesses, along with vestments and altar linens of local churches. In what amounted to slave labor, the girls were never paid for their work.
“Irish playwright Patricia Burke Brogan rightly won a Fringe First for this excellent new play and deserves praise for bringing the whole issue of the ‘penitent women’s laundries’ to the public eye – an excellent play.” The List, Edinburgh Theatre Festival 1992
“There is a scene in which women try to comfort the distraught Mandy,… that would make a stone weep with its pathos and sense of the sweetness of life gone to waste.” The Guardian, Edinburgh Theatre Festival 1992
“It is a harrowing play, written with feeling and power and grappling with some dark truths about life in Ireland that were concealed for too long.” Michael Finlan, The Irish Times
For additional information about the play from the author go to: http://www.anglo-iren.de/eclipsed/eclipsed_p2.htm
Eclipsed will be performed In Milwaukee at the Irish Cultural Heritage Center May 9th through May 13th and in Chicago on May 24th as part of the Acting Irish International Theatre Festival.