The Scourge - Struggles families encounter with Alzheimer’s

By Hayden Moore

The Scourge was a nickname given to Michelle Dooley Mahon for being a bit of a handful when she was a child, and now the play detailing her visits to see her Alzheimer’s disease-battling mother in a nursing home is coming to The Civic.

After introducing herself over the phone as “a small elderly woman with wild hair, a cardigan and a few hairs on her chin” that has lived all over the world, “been with every type of man you could imagine, and experienced pretty much everything” – I couldn’t have prepared myself for the wild ride I was about to be brought on.

Michelle Dooley Mahon in The Scourge 1

Michelle Dooley Mahonin the Scourge 

54-year-old Michelle, who hails from Wexford, published ‘Scourged: A Memoir’ in 2016 and after a producer read the book in one sitting it was commissioned to be adapted into a play.

“It was difficult [writing it] but the truth is I had been saying goodbye to my mother every day for many years. I had pretty much said goodbye to every single part of her by the time she died,” said Michelle.

“I was nicknamed the Scourge because I was a divil as a child and I was considered too manic – today I’d probably be diagnosed with ADHD – and when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I had been writing incrementally about her life, death and the aftermath on Facebook.

“I set up a Facebook page to write about her story and it ended up becoming a thing where I got to look at and examine my own mental health a lot.

“I’m at a stage in my life where finally, I am being myself. When people look at me or listen to me, they get the truth, I’m myself and there’s no bull**** anymore because instead of me just pretending things are okay when they’re not, I’ll say it.”

Michelle set up a GoFundMe page online to help fund the memoir after the stories detailing the relationship with her mother, Siobhán Dooley Mahon received a massive response online.

“I wrote every draft, subbed everything, re-wrote it, designed the book and everything in six months.

“Eoin Colfer asked me once how many words I can write in a day, I said 10k and his response was ‘Jesus Christ’ – so I am a quick writer.”

When asked about what audiences can expect from the one woman showing, starring herself she said: “the thing about this story is only a scourge could write it.

“Only a scourge could perform it – men do be balling in the aisle during the show, but its a not a sad story either, its funny too.”

Through her hilarious and moving memories, Michelle is set to bring audiences on a roller-coaster of emotion through 80 minutes as she shines a light on an illness that so rarely gets such a spotlight.

‘The Scourge’ runs from January 3 to 5 at 8.15pm each night, with tickets €14 with concessions or €16 from or The Civic’s Box Office.

Prev Year in Review 2018: December
Next Dancing With the Stars - Denis and Johnny ready to hit the dancefloor
  • Fire in Cookstown Industrial Estate
  • Looking to #ShopLocal?
  • Take a virtual tour around Greenhills Community College with some of its students!
  • #ThinkShopSupportLocal
  • The Square celebrates 30 years in Tallaght

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site, personalise content, provide social media features, analyse our traffic, show you relevant advertising and to target and report on ads. By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies that may process personal data for these purposes.