Bridget Foley “Principles of Flight”
Sarah Haas • August 21, 2017 • 2017 Boulder International Fringe Festival •
Principles of Flight, written and performed by Bridget Foley, is a complex ode to the diseases and biological anomalies that come to define our lives.
“This is you,” Bridget Foley says, arms and legs spread open at center stage. “These are your scars…. Remnants of things deep enough to make a mark, but not deep enough to leave a memory.”
For the next 30 minutes, Foley offers her body and story to the audience in a phenomenology of breast cancer, told in the second person. It’s as if she’s offering viewers her pain and inviting them to use her body so that they might come to a new understanding of disease.
She tells about how your husband’s mouth found a cancerous lump in your breast, his penis still inside you. She talks about the doctor who, cloaked in his white jacket, promises you magic, but he turns out to be just another mortal man. She consoles you when she tells you you’ll be too tired to take care of your kids and that you’ll have to tell them: “Mamma needs a little rest.”
In looking back at her terrestrial life, her grand discovery is that it is fleeting — a place no one is meant to stay for long. Her narrative is driven by how bad goes to worse and worse goes to dismal, but Foley is defiantly upbeat — smiling and laughing with an interminable insistence on a silver lining.
How? Because, according to Foley, disease is not the body’s betrayal of itself, but rather a reclamation of one’s enduring spirit, ephemeral as it may be. And as her earthly character sprouts wings, it becomes apparent that disease is not an earthly curse, but a divine opportunity to inhabit the world between life and death.
You can check out “Principles of Flight” at Trident Booksellers and Cafe