The story of Deirdre or the Exile of the Sons of Uilsliu is a pre-tale of the Táin, the greatest epic in Irish mythology. At her birth, Deirdre is prophesied to bring ruin to Ulster. It is a tale of a despotic king, love at first sight, betrayal, and includes a brief mention of suicide.
Melinda Laus is a grief counselor and educator who understands grief as a normal, healthy part of being human. After the sudden and unexpected death of her late husband, Melinda learned that her healing was richer and deeper when she accessed nature and expressed herself through writing and photography. In addition to running a private practice in the Portland, Oregon area, Melinda is the founder of the online support community, The Nature of Grief.
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- This story of kings and failed leadership is also a story of young love and freedom. This retelling has echoes of a former American president, but also the death of Queen Elizabeth, and the tragedy of Princess Diana’s death.
- Deirdre is an unapologetic tragic figure, and that teaches us so much about permission to grieve and be sad in a culture rooted in toxic positivity
- Melinda’s story of losing her husband at age 31 and how that transformed her understanding of grief
- Power as held by royalty, the bards, and the druids as a parallel to the ruling elite, the media, and the religious establishment
- The play between the individual and the collective, as well as the result of toxic individualism
- Other forms and causes of grief, including climate grief and the grief caused by colonization and displacement
- The specific nature of “Irish grief” and a reference to poet Padraig Ó Tuama who reminds us that the Irish phrase tá brón orm, which translates to "the sadness is on me"
- Susan Cain’s book Bittersweet and the validity melancholic personality
The primary sources for this retelling of the tale: Douglas Hyde's translation of Deirdre and Vernam Hill's translation of The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu.
Music at the start of the show is by Beth Sweeney and Billy Hardy, a Celtic Fiddle and multi-instrumental duo based on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The traditional Irish reel we play at the start of the show is called "The College Groves." billyandbeth.com
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