December 1, 2022

International Literary Magazine Publishes Script of Writer Clonmel’s Radio Play

A Clonmel writer’s radio play, based on the life story of a nursing home resident, has been published in a US-based international literary magazine.

Patricia Cantwell’s screenplay for her play, Kintsugi, is included in the latest edition of The Lowell Review, published in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Kintsugi is a poignant and heartwarming short drama that reveals how main character Annie makes a good living out of broken pieces, like the Japanese art of Kintsugi, where you fix a crack with a gold seal.

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The play was specially written by Ms Cantwell of Silversprings, Clonmel for the Keep Well Radio Play Collaborative Project during the Covid-19 lockdown in early 2021. It was first broadcast online in March this year- there and was also broadcast on Tipp FM.

Kintsugi was directed by Suzanne Dunne and performed by Brewery Lane Theater actors Maria Clancy and Neill Bourke from Carrick-on-Suir. Pianist Marion Ingoldsby closes the piece with a beautiful rendition of a nocturne by John Field.

Patricia said she was honored that her piece was published in The Lowell Review and honored that Margaret O’Brien of the writing collective Writing Changes Lives thought it was good enough to submit to the editor of the Review.

The play was inspired by stories generously shared by a wonderful resident of Sonas Melview Nursing Home in Clonmel, Kathleen Hackett, who sadly passed away on Monday June 21, 2021 less than three months after the play aired. She was 90 years old.

Kathleen was one of many residents of nursing homes in Greenhill, Carrick-on-Suir; Melview and St Anthony’s, Clonmel who shared stories of how they got through tough times for the Healthy Ireland Keep Well radio plays project run by Linda Fahy of the Tudor Artisan Hub in Carrick-on-Suir with the tutor of creative writing Margaret O’Brien’s writing changes lives.

Patricia said Kathleen’s stories were recorded by Margaret and passed on to her to create a play based on them. She recounted that Kathleen Hackett was widowed at a young age.

Her husband died after undergoing routine surgery in hospital, leaving her with three young children to raise. Her grief was doubled shortly afterwards when her young son also died.

Patricia said the play is based on two characters – Annie (who portrays Kathleen) and her deceased husband who appears to her in the nursing home and pays tribute to her for how she overcame such a tragedy and successfully raised her two surviving daughters.

She said the name of the play, Kintsugi, is a metaphor for Kathleen’s life story.

“She was such a brave woman. She put everything back together and did something with her life for her daughters.

“Kathleen lived long enough to hear the play and at her funeral there was a Kintsugi bowl on the altar. His daughter told me that it (the piece) meant so much to them that they had the Kintsugi bowl (during the ceremony). It was lovely.

“I feel like I know Kathleen even though I didn’t know her. She was a woman who made the most of her life.
Patricia started writing relatively recently and has worked as a theater teacher, radio host and lawyer.

Her poems have been published in various local collections and she was shortlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize.

She was the winner of the International Bridport Prize after being shortlisted twice in the competition. She is married to Seamus and has two children and five grandchildren.

Kintsugi was one of three radio plays selected to be produced for the Keep Well project from a series of play scripts created by members of the writing collective Writing Changes Lives.

All of the scripts were based on the remotely recorded interviews of nursing home residents’ inspiring personal stories of resilience when their world was turned upside down.

The other two plays produced for the project were What Kind of Blue by David Ryan and The Magical Moon by Eileen Heneghan.

All three plays were performed by actors associated with the award-winning Brewery Lane theater group and were recorded during the Covid lockdown using a mix of online meetings and digital recorders delivered to the actors.