Marina Carr

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
1964- ; b. 17 Nov. 1964, Dublin, dg. of Irish playwright Hugh Carr and Irish-language poet Maura Eibhlín Breathneach; grew up in Co Offalyraised Gortnamona, nr. Banagher, Co. Offaly (a region with raised bogs); ed. Sacred Heart Convent, Tullamore, and UCD, grad. 1987 (BA English & Philosophy); lived for a year in New York, teaching and writing; commenced PhD on Beckett at TCD; plays incl. Low in the Dark (Project 1989), played by Crooked Sixpence Company; The Deers Surrender (Andrew’s Lane Th. 1990), for and by Gaiety School of Acting, June 1990; This Love Thing (Tinderbox Theatre Co./Old Museuam Arts Centre, Belfast 1991), a comedy featuring Renaissance artists along with Jesus and the Mona Lisa; Ullaloo (Peacock 1991), following a rehearsed reading with Derek Chapman, Olwen Fouere, and Tom Hickey during 1989 Theatre Festival; wrote This Love Thing (1991); wrote The Mai (1994), winner of Dublin Theatre Festival Best New Play Award, 1994;
 
appt. writer in residence at the Abbey Theatre in 1995; The Mai revived, Abbey, Summer 1995; transferred to Paris as part of l’Imaginaire Irlande; also Portia Coughlan (Peacock Th., 30 March 1996), three-act play commissioned by the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, set in the Irish midlands, in which family secrets of incest drive the title-character to drown herself in the same river as her brother and alter-ego Gabriel; remarked for violence of language, it went on to make a hit in London (at Royal Court Th., 16 May 1996), with Derbhle [sic] Crotty in the lead role, winning her the Susan Smith Blackburn Award for women playwrights ($5,000); Ansbacher writer in residence at the Abbey theatre, 1996;
 

By The Bog of Cats (Abbey, 7 Oct. 1998), with Olwen Fouéré as Hester Swane, opp. Conor MacDermottroe; elected to Aosdána, 1995; TCD writer in residence, 1999; wrote On Raftery’s Hill (2000), commissioned by Druid and premiered at Town Hall Galway, afterwards moving to Jerwood Th. Downstairs, features three generations of a midlands farming family knit together by hatred and grandfather-granddaughtger incest; Portia Coughlan played in Toronto (Dec. 2001); wrote Ariel (Abbey Th., 9 Oct. 2002), dir. Conall Morrison, based on Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis concerning Fermoy Fitzgerald, a politician running for Taoiseach, who sacrifices his daughter to his own success; Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova Univ., 2003;

 
also Meat and Salt (Peacock/Abbey, Feb. 2003), a fairy-tale play for children based on the King Lear narrative; By The Bog of Cats revived in London with Holly Hunter as Hester (Dec. 2004); Woman and Scarecrow (London, Royal Court Upstairs, June 2006), concerning a deathbed wish of the mother of eight to be brought back to the west of Ireland in hope of a miracle, with Fiona Shaw as Bird Brennan in respective title roles - a passionate threnody full of mordant humour considered unsuitable summer-time fare by some reviewers; The Cordelia Dream (Wilton Th., London, Dec. 2008), a daughter-father story of haunting memories which elicited violent notices from London critics;
 
premiered Marble (RSC/Wilton’s Th. [Music Hall], London (11 Dec. 2008) & Abbey Th. Dublin (17 Feb. 2009), a play about marriage featuring two couples in a modern city against a set of black and white marble; Carr lives in Dublin with husband and two children; she is often identified with Martin McDonagh as an exponent of the rural Irish Gothic; appt. Adjunct Professor in School of Drama, Film and Music at TCD, teaching playwrighting (Theatre & Performance MPhil), 2009; also holder of Class of ’32 Fellowship at Harvard, in a department run by Paul Muldoon; wrote The Giant Blue Hand (dir. Selina Cartmell) for The Ark children’s cultural centre, Temple Bar, Dublin, 2009;
 

gave keynote lecture at ‘Performance as Event and Its Technologies of Representation’ conference in School of Drama, Film and Music (TCD), 23-24 April 2010; issued a new play, 16 Possible Glimpses (Peacock Sept. 2011) in the form of a series of dialogues and domestic scenes which flash through the life of Chekhov in his character as story teller, playwright, doctor, lover, brother, son - dir. Wayne Jordan, with Patrick O’Kane, Cathy Belton, and Caitríona Ní Mhurchú, and incorporating a live video, and running 2.5 hours with interval; her adaptation of Anna Karenina staged in the Abbey (Dec. 2016); declared winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize associated with Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, Feb. 2017 (worth $165K); By the Bog of Cats was translated into Portuguese by Aline Balduindo P. Fernandes in 2017.

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Works
Plays
  • The Mai (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 1995, 2007), 72[90]pp.;
  • Gina Moxley, Jimmy Murphy, & Tom McIntyre] pp.235-311, with author’s ‘Afterword’;
  • Portia Coughlan (London: Faber & Faber 1996), 64pp., and Do. [rev. edn.] (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 1998), 67pp.;
  • By The Bog of Cats (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 1998), 81pp.; Do. (NY: Dramatists Play Service [2002]), 63pp., and Do. (London: Faber & Faber 2004), 80pp.
  • By the Bog of Cats [Contemporary Classics] (London: Faber & Faber 1999), 341pp.; rep. in Judy Friel & Sanford Sternlicht, ed. & intro., New Plays from the Abbey Theatre, Vol 2: 1996-1998 (Syracuse UP 2001) [with Michael Harding, “Sour Grapes”; Thomas Kilroy, “The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde”; Alex Johnston, “Melonfarmer”].
  • On Raftery’s Hill (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2000), 55pp.; Do. [as Royal Court Theatre Presents On Raftery’s Hill, t.p.] (London: Faber & Faber 2000), 57pp. [with RCT programme], and Do. (NY: Dramatists Play Service Inc. 2002), 63pp.
  • Ariel (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2002), 75pp.;
  • Woman and Scarecrow (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2006), 68pp.; Do. (London: Faber & Faber 2006), [12], 77pp. [incls. programme for Royal Court Jerwood Upstairs Th.]
  • The Cordelia Dream (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2008), 46pp. and Do. [Faber & Faber Plays] (London: Faber & Faber 2008), 72pp.
  • Marble (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2009), 67pp.
  • 16 Possible Glimpses (Oldcastle: Gallery Books 2011), 61pp. [on Chekhov]
Trans. (incl.)
  • No Pantano dos Gatos [By the Bog of Cats], trans. Aline Balduindo P. Fernandes, with a preface [Prefácio by Marina Carr (SP: Rafael Copetti 2017), 180pp. Pref. by Carr, pp.1-3; Apresentacao by Fernandez, pp.55-6; Posfácio by Fernandez, pp.169-79].
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Collections
  • Low in the Dark, in David Grant, sel. & intro., A Crack in the Emerald (London: Nick Hern Books 1990, 1994) [with Dermot Bolger, “The lament for Arthur Cleary”; Michael Harding, “Misogynist”; Marie Jones, “The Hamster Wheel”].
  • Portia Coughlan, in Frank McGuinness sel. & ed., The Dazzling Dark: New Irish Plays (London: Faber & Faber 1996) [‘ded. for Dermot [Bolger]’; with Gina Moxley, “Danti-Dan”; Jimmy Murphy, “A Picture of Paradise”; Tom Mac Intyre, “Good Evening, Mr Collins”].
  • Marina Carr: Plays One, introduced by the author [Contemporary Classics] (London: Faber 1999), 320pp. [“Low in the Dark”; “The Mai”; “Portia Coughlan”; “By the Bog of Cats”].
Fiction
  • Dermot Bolger, ed. [with Ciaran Carty], The Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction (New Islands 1995) [incls. story].
Miscellaneous
  • ‘Dealing with the Dead’, in The Irish University Review, 28, 1 (1998), pp.190-96.
  • Foreword to Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and Representation, ed. Melissa Sihra (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2007), xix, 241pp.

Youtube ...
See 16 Possible Scenes World Premier video [trailer] - online; accessed 10.12.2011.

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Criticism
Monographs
  • Rhona Trench, Bloody Living: The Loss of Selfhood in the Plays of Marina Carr (Bern: Peter Lang 2010), 307pp. [Available at Google Books - online.]
  • Cathy Leeney & Anna McMullan, The Theatre of Marina Carr: “Before Rules was Made” (Carysfort Press 2003), 255pp. [contents].
  • Rhona Trench, Bloody Living: The Loss of Selfhood in the Plays of Marina Carr (Oxford: Peter Lang 2010), 123pp.
Doctoral studies
  • Melissa Sihra, “Landscapes, voices and corporealities of excess in the theatre of Marina Carr” (PhD Diss. TCD 2003).
Articles
  • Bruce Stewart, ‘“A Fatal Excess” at the Heart of Irish Atavism’, in IASIL Newsletter, 5, 1 (1999), p.1;
  • Eileen Battersby, ‘Marina of the Midlands’, in The Irish Times (4 May 2000) [see extract].
  • Victor Merriman, ‘Decolonisation Postponed: The Theatre of Tiger Trash’, in Irish University Review, 29, 2 (1999), pp.305-07;
  • Riana O’Dwyer, ‘The Imagination of Women’s Reality: Christina Reid and Marina Carr’, in Theatre Stuff: Critical Essays on Contemporary Irish Theatre, ed. Eamonn Jordan (Blackrock: Carysfort Press 2000), pp.236-56.
  • Melissa Sihra, ‘A Cautionary Tale: Marina Carr’s By the Bag of Cats’, in Theatre Stuff: Critical Essays on Contemporary Irish Theatre, ed. Eamonn Jordan (Blackrock: Carysfort Press 2000), pp.257-68.
  • Melissa Sihra [interview], in Theatre Talk: Voices of Irish Theatre Practitioners, ed. Lilian Chambers, Ger Fitzgibbon, Eamonn Jordan, et al. (Blackrock: Carysfort Press 2001), pp.55-63.
  • Clare Wallace, ‘Tragic Destiny and Abjection in Marina Carr's The Mai, Portia Coughlan and By the Bog of Cats ...’, in Irish University Review, 31, 2 (Autumn-Winter 2001), pp.431-49 [available at JSTOR - online];
  • Eamonn Jordan [on Carr], in Marianne McDonald, & J. Michael Walton, eds., Amid Our Troubles: Irish Versions of Greek Tragedy (London: Methuen 2002), q.pp.
  • Melissa Sihra, “Landscapes, Voices and Corporealities of Excess in the Theatre of Marina Carr” (Dublin: TCD Ph. 2003).
  • Cathy Leeney, ‘Ireland’s “Exiled” Women Playwrights: Teresa Deevy and Marina Carr’, in The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-century Irish Drama, ed. Shaun Richards (Cambridge UP 2003) [Chap. 11].
  • Melissa Sihra, ‘The House of Woman and the Plays of Marina Carr’, in Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and Representation, ed. Sihra [Performance Interventions] (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2007) [q.pp.]
  • Eileen Battersby, ‘A double take of savage realism’, [interview article], in The Irish Times (7 Feb. 2009), Weekend Review, p.9. [see extract].
  • Maria Kurdi, ‘Foregrounding the Body and Performance in Plays by Gina Moxley, Emma Donoghue and Marina Carr’, in Irish Literature Since 1990: Diverse Voices, ed. Scott Brewster & Michael Parker (Manchester UP 2009) [Chap. 2].
  • Anthony Roche, ‘The Stuff of Tragedy? Representations of Irish Political Leaders in the ‘Haughey’ Plays of Carr, Barry and Breen’, in Irish Literature Since 1990: Diverse Voices, ed. Scott Brewster & Michael Parker (Manchester UP 2009) [Chap. 3].
  • Anna McMullan, ‘Gender, Authorship and Performance in Selected Plays by Contemporary Irish Women Playwrights: Mary Elizabeth Burke-Kennedy, Marie Jones, Marina Carr, Emma Donoghue’, in Theatre Stuff: Critical Essays on Contemporary Irish Theatre, ed. Eamonn Jordan (Blackrock: Carysfort Press 2000), pp.34-46.
  • [...]
  • Clare Wallace, ‘Marina Carr: nostalgia for destiny’, in Suspect Cultures: Narrative, Identity and Citation in 1990s New Drama (Prague: Litteraria Prengensia 2006) [chap.; q.pp.]

[ See Abbey Theatre study-pack of By the Bog of Cats - online; accessed 23.11.2017. ]

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Bibliographical details
Cathy Leeney & Anna McMullan, The Theatre of Marina Carr: “Before Rules was Made” (Carysfort Press 2003), 255pp. CONTENTS:  Aknowledgements [x]; List of Photographs [xi]. Cathy Leeney & Anna McMullan, ‘Introduction’ [xv-xxvii]. Sarahjane Scaife, ‘Mutual Beginnings: Marina Carr’s Low in the Dark’  [1]; Anthony Roche, ‘Woman on the Threshold: J. M. Synge’s The Shadow of the Glen, Teresa Deevy’s Katie Roche, and Marina Carr’s The Mai [17]; Clare Wallace, ‘Authentic Reproductions: Marina Carr and the Inevitable’ [43]; Eilis Ní Dhuibhne, ‘Playing the Story: Narrative Techniques in The Mai’ [65]; Tom Mac Intyre, ‘Apercus: Programme  Note, Peacock Theatre 1994’ [75]; Frank McGuinness, ‘Introduction to Portia Coughlan from The Dazzling Dark’ [78]; Tom Mac Intyre, ‘Portia Coughlan: Programme Note, Peacock Theatre 1996’ [80]; Medb Ruane, ‘Shooting from the Lip: Review of Portia Coughlan, Peacock Theatre 1996 (Sunday Times, 31 March 1996) [83]; Frank McGuinness, ‘By the Bog of Cats: Programme Note, Abbey Theatre 1998 [87]; Fintan O’Toole, ‘Review of Ariel, Abbey Theatre 2002 (The Irish Times, 4 Sept. 2002) [89]; Melissa Sihra,  ‘Reflections Across Water: New Stages of Performing Carr’ [92]; M. K. Martinovich, ‘The Mythical and the Macabre: The Study of Greeks and Ghosts in the Shaping of the American Premiere of By the Bog of Cats’ [114]; Bernadette Bourke, ‘Carr’s “cut-throats and gargiyles”: Grotesque and Carnivalesque Elements in By the Bog of Cats’ [128]; Victor Merriman, ‘“Poetry shite”: Towards a Postcolonial Reading of Portia Coughlan and Hester Swane’ [145]; Olwen Fouéré, Journeys in Performance: On Playing in The Mai and By the Bog of Cats [160]; Enrica Cerquoni, ‘“One Bog, Many Bogs”: Theatrical Space, Visual Image, and Meaning in Some Productions of Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats [172]; Matt O’Brien, ‘Always the Best Man, Never the Groom: The Role of the Fantasy Male in Marina Carr’s Plays [200]; Claudia W. Harris, Rising Out of the Miasmal Mists: Marina Carr’s Ireland [216]; Bibliography [233]; Selected Carr Productions [236]; Index [243]; Contributors [252].

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Commentary

Frank McGuinness
Victor Merriman
John Devitt
Joan Bakewell
Phoenix
Fintan O’Toole
Stephen Brown
Eileen Battersby
Sean Doran
Eleanor Margolies
Michael Billington
Lyn Gardner
Eamonn Kelly

Frank McGuinness, sel. & ed., The Dazzling Dark: New Irish Plays (London: Faber & Faber 1996), Introduction: ‘Marina Carr is a writer haunted by memories she could not possibly possess, but they seem determined to possess her. This haunting is a violent one, intensified by the physical attack on the conventions of syntax … It is a violence that avoids resolution to its conflict…. the war goes on, the war of words where the weapons are the fighting mother, father, son and daughter, sister, brother, wife and husband…. Tragedy is so often the consequence of a fatal lack of self-knowledge. Marina Carr rewrites that rule. Her characters die from a fatal excess of self-knowledge. Their truth kills them. And they have always known it would.’ (pp.ix-x.). Note: The play is accompanied by an Afterword (Nov. 1995) discussing its origins in her Midlands upbringing near the place where the last woman was hanged in Ireland, and also Banagher where Charlotte Bronte passed her honeymoon; further, ‘[…] “Newspeak” has left little evidence of itself in the Midland mouth. We talk long and slow and flat, we make a meal out of giving someone directions…. we hunger for stories, details, any morsel that will take our eyes off the bogholes. Our place names are mythical: Pallas Lake, Rhodes, Belmont, Rue de Rât, Pullagh (this last from Hiberno-English, coming from the Irish ‘pull’ [hole])…. Another contributory factor to the genesis of Portia Coughlan is my nightly forays back to that landscape … lights off, head on the pillow and once again I’m in the Midlands … reeling at the nocturnal traffic …’; also cites the speech she has ‘never forgotten’ from Shakespeare’s merchant of Venice, incl. the lines ‘In Belmont is a lady richly left/And she is fair …/Of wondrous virtues: sometimes form her eyes/I did receive fair speechless messages:/Her name is Portia … . (pp.310-11).

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Vic[tor] Merriman, ‘Decolonisation: The Theatre of Tiger Trash’, Irish University Review, Autumn/Winter 1999, pp.305-17: ‘Among the most celebrated Irish playwrights of teh late nineteen-nineties are Marina Carr and Martin McDonagh. In an apparently bold oppositional stance, their successess have been built around plays which stage Ireland as a benighted dystopia. At a time of unprecedented affluence, Carr adn McDonagh elaborate a world of the poorly educated, coarse and unrefined. The focus is tight, the display of violence inhering in the people themselves, grotesque and unrelenting. […; 312] //The appearance in wedding dress of the traveller woman, Hester Swayne, at the monstrous petit-bourgeois wedding of Carthage, her daughter’s father, in By the Bog of Cats evoked no closed eyes in the auditorium of the Abbey Theatre. On the contrary, the mother-in-law’s racist epithet “Ya piebald knacker!” brought the house down. The moment when the bride’s father shoves a loaded shotgun under Hester’s skirt is an image of gross brutality so gratuitous that it risks rupturing the boudnaries of the fictional world altogether. And dangerous and amoral woman, even Hester’s marginal economic status turns out to have been [313] attained by means of fratricide. [… &c.; […] Criticism [314] goes no further than documenting the quality of the spectacle, is wholly inadequate to critique what these plays amount to as cultural interventions. The resources of the most successful of Irish theatre companies have been deployed in the service of deeply problematic work, to the extent that their theatricality their ability to operate as spectacle - overpowers engagement with their significance as dramatic art. What is at issue here is the meaning of these representations as constitutory events in the evolution of civil society. What is being played —about whom, to whom and in whose interests? What are its meanings, and their consequences? / For some, the perceived importance of Carr’s work rests on a claim that she brings feminist perspectives to the stage. Others celebrate the perceived boldness of her literary achievement. If this is feminist writing, it is of the kind which has been challenged by those outside the cultural economies of Western bourgeois circulation. Hester Swayne demonstrates in an Irish context the limited egalitarianism of such a cultural stance. The most fully female of all the dramatis personae on show, she is also the most comprehensively damned in and of herself for her unnaturalness. And this is a crucial point. The application of referents in classical and renaissance drama upon which Carr tends to draw, results in the unproblematic ascription of fatedness to the poorest and most vulnerable in the social order. Such a manoeuvre, in which class and entitlement are ignored, inaugurates not questioning but evasion of the social meaning of their position. In a truly ironic inversion of a powerful feminist slogan, Swayne is obliged to play “nature” to the audience’s “culture”.’ (pp.314-15.)

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John Devitt, ‘Brief Notes’, in Irish Literary Supplement (Fall 1995), reviews The Mai (Oldcastle: Gallery 1995), citing Brian Brady’s production with Olwen Fourre in the title role, Joan O’Hara as manic and dishevelled Grandma Fraochlain; Robert, the Mai’s delinquent husband, is a mere cipher for all his ranting; enormous dramatic power; Granma F. smokes opium pipe with one of her gd.-dgs. Devitt notes an essay by Anthony Roche tracing Synge’s Shadow, Deevy’s Katie Roche and Marina Carr’s The Mai with the intention of bringing women dramatists in from the margins of neglected literary history [see Roche, Modern Irish Theatre, 1995, and Leeney and MacMullan, 2003, as supra.]

Joan Bakewell [diary column], in Spectator (1 June, 1996) contains extended reference to Marina Carr’s Portia Coughlan, a ‘new Irish play … brought over from the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.’ Within the first pages of the play’s text, which the Royal Court helpfully sells as a programme, there appeared the following announcement: … ‘As part of its Centenary celebrations, the National Maternity Hospital commissioned Marina Carr to write a play. Portia Coughlan is the result and has been an outstanding success. Marina was based at the hospital while writing the play.’ There is then appended a list of some 90 Irish women, ‘both at home and abroad’, who provided money for the project. ‘The national maternity Hospital is both proud and delighted …’. The serene language of this announcement is at odds with the tone of the play itself, a gruelling descent into the depths of suicidal despair by a woman trapped in the incestuous passions of two generations. The dialect is thick, the sentiments violent: plenty of what’s described in the text as “Fucha ya!” and “Swate sufferin’ Jaysus”. No wholesome values taken for granted here. That such a powerful and grim work sprang to life within a maternity hospital is an oddity to make Joyce or Beckett chuckle. But is also characterises a culture where the poet, the creative artist, is a natural part of the scenery and where his or her work can be honoured by its most traditional institutions, however disturbing and subversive it may prove to be. I like to picture Marina Carr strolling in the hospital’s corridors, nodding, perhaps, at mothers and their babies, then sitting down to render her horrific picture of family life as a tribute to its anniversary.’ (p.7.)

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Phoenix [satirical magazine] (23 Oct. 1998), offers an aggressive review-notice: ‘Somewhere inside By the Bog of Cats there is a slight but compelling tale of familial rejection, romantic betrayal and the casual cruelty of provincial Irish life. Unfortunately, much of its power is lost amid a gassy swamp of myth, melodrama and pantomime theatricality […]. play-acting at its most turgid and self-conscious’; ‘Hester Swane (a most impressive performance by Olwen Fouère), a traveller, abandoned in childhood by her wayward mother, who has scraped out a life for herself and her daughter, Josie, amid the frost-glazed landscape of a Midlands bog. Hester prowls her plot of bog with the swagger of a gunslinger. Quick on the verbal draw and easy to rile, she is determined that no-one wille very humiliate her the way her mother did. / When Carthage Kilbride (Conor McDermottroe), Hester’s former lover and the father of Josie, decides to marry into the cosy respectability of the land-rich Cassidy family, all hell breaks loose. Worse still, Carthage’s treachery also involves a scheme to buy off Hestter and to (ahem) turf her out of their once shared house. For Hester it’s the nightmare of ultimate betrayal that she has always feard, the doomsday scenario. Her vengeful wrather, therefore, becomes sn apocalyptic actof self-destruction. [&c.] Anon. reviewer berates playwright for ‘bludgeoning her audience into submission with a snarl-up of anticlimactic wrap-up scenes’ and the director Patrick Mason for heavy-handed direction and ‘Greek Malarky turned up to earsplitting volume’; commends the play for its knowledgeof her ‘emotional and geographic’ territory and ‘an unerring ear for the wisecracking rhythms, twisted eloquence and bone-dry wit of Midlands language, whic has rarely before been so perfectly replicated onstage.’ (p.20).

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Fintan O’Toole, ‘Arts at the Crossroads’, writes of the premier of Marina Carr’s On Raftery’s Hill at the Kennedy Centre (Washington, DC): ‘The showpiece of the festival was a new play by Marina Carr presented by the internationally renowned Druid Theatre Company. … By the time the interval came … [the audience] was sitting in shocked silence. Instead of the expected celebration of the new cool Ireland, it was getting a nightmarish vision of an imploding culture. Carr’s play, On Raftery’s Hill, has a farther whose whife is really is daughter, a son who lives in the cow shed, another daughter who is being prepared for incestuous enslavement. / It was the extreme opposite of th eimage any State [sic] would want to present to outsideres, especially in a semi-official showcase in the centre of world power. It was the kind of thing that would haunt the uneasy dreams of executives from Bord Fáilte and the IDA for years to come. / Yet it was also in a way an extraordinary tribute to the Irish cultural establishment …’ (The Irish Times, 9 June 2001, Weekend, Feature, p.1.)

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Stephen Brown, reviewing Marina Carr, On Raftery’s Hill (Royal Court, London), in Times Literary Supplement (21 July 2000), writes of Portia Coughlan (Royal Court 1996), in which fierce heroine is haunted by twin brother; reunites in death in incestuous relationship they shared in life; reviewer remarks on ‘limitations of her Irish grotesque’; in place of supernatural elements a classical revelation-driven family drama in a single location; Sorrel Raftery, dg. of Red Raftery, to marry, leaving decaying rural farm of her family; Red Raftery’s ‘perverse rages’ involve cutting udder off an affectionate cow; Shalome, his mother, has dementia; Ded Raftery, his son, half-mad and living in cow-shed; dg. Dinah soldiers on; Red rapes Sorrel, knife in hand; Sorrel proves to be dg. of Dinah by him; reviewer considers that the switch to naturalism plays more to her weaknesses than her strengths; compares Carr to Martin McDonagh in reworking the poeticised vernacular and mythic landscapes of the Revival, but finds the latter tongue in cheek and finally cynical as compared with the sincerity of the former (‘and too often simply confused’). Remarks, ‘In the introduction to her first volume of collected work, Marina Carr explains her work as an attempt to retrieve the joy of childhood play-making, when children “know instinctively that morality is a human invention’. This willed primitivism is Carr’s essential theme, the raw pulse of her best work and her great temptation. It also makes me wonder what kind of postcolonial transaction is going on as I sit on the Royal Court’s magnificent new upholstery, watching those wild Irish Yahoos, again.’ ( p.21.) Note letter of Aleks Sierz (TLS, 4 Aug. 2000), questioning the method of applying naturalistic criteria to ‘what is obviously a symbolic drama’ and remarking: ‘Surely the outstanding feature [of the play] is not only its emotional force, but also the way in which she shows the Raftery family’s daughters both colluding in, and defending, their abuse by their father. Isn’t it this which gives the piece its power to disturb?’

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Eileen Battersby, ‘Marina of the Midlands’, interview-article, The Irish Times, [Thurs.] 4 May 2000. On Raftery’s Hill opens Town Hall Th., Galways, dir. Garry Hynes, with Tom Hickey in lead. Quotes Carr: ‘you could say in the new play nothing happens except for the cat dying’; ‘It’s true that a swear word used in the can he very effective (but I have more and more intolerant of strong language; I think it brings a laziness to the the writing. I have moved away from it. But anyhow, you come around to thinking less is more. I think when you start out you,want all the frills. It’s too easy to want to show off. what you can do, to show off. all the words you know. But that’s not important. Writing is not about what you can do - that’s a mistake lots of writers, myself included, make. It’s about something completely different, it’s about simplicity and precision.’ Battersby remarks, ‘exasperation is the planet most of her characters inhabit, their humour is blacker than black.’ Describes Carr as ‘a shrewd, deliberate individual [who] possesses an unusual poise; she is friendly, wary, very funny and highly intelligent rather than clever. There is a naturaness about her which can be disarming. Also, she conveys a strong sense of having another, extremely normal life, well removed from solitary hours writing in a spartan office in Temple Bar]. / Her broad, dreamy girl’s face, long hair and student aura make her seem younger than she is. / Her voice is low and easy […]. Carr’s mother is from Invern, Connemara, and her father from Donegal. Admires Ibsen, Chekhov and Tennessee Williams (her muse); expecting second child in weeks; manuscript of Ariel on her desk (‘I’m not quite sure what it is about’); believes plays should be read and treated as text; writer in residence at the Abbey and previously at Trinity College, Dublin; Shalome, the demented grandmother in On Raftery’s Hill, says: “I could be in Bavaria right now. I could’ve met Dracula. instead here I am …”. Battersby continues: ‘Landscape, for Carr, though so vividly, physical by allusion in the plays, seems suspended between memory and imagination. “Landscape […] is another character - if you can get it right. It needs to be present, to have presence. But if you labour it too much it can be overly symbolic and self-conscious. Get it right, though, and it can add a subtle layer.’ / The flat midlands countryside with its expanse of bog and undulating stretches of canal has a subtle, underestimated beauty of its own; it also has a topographical diversity dramatically represented by the Slieve Bloom Mountains. […]’ (Cont.)

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Eileen Battersby, ‘Marina of the Midlands’, [interview-article] (Irish Times, 4 May 2000) - cont.: At the mention of a mysterious local passage over the mountain, known to her as The Cut, Carr’s face lights up and she pronounces the word as the locals do, with a mute “T” / Long resident in cities, which she says, she loves, Carr remains a countrywoman and agrees that bogs are fascinating places. Boora hog, a couple of miles from her family home was a fine playground, “When you’re out on the bog, especially where its been cut for the turf, you could as easily be on the moon. They’re amazing places, especially at night.” The dead, such as The Ghost Fancier[,] walk freely in her plays and it is understandable considering the ghosts who have long lain preserved in the bog. / Bogs preserve as well as contain or conceal. Carr mentions the wealth of archaeological treasures found in them, particularly in the Co. Offaly portions of the Bog of Allen, the bull bull artefacts of the Dowris Hoard which in turn gave its name to a phase of the Bronze Age. “There’s a Greek quality to this, as well as being very Celtic” . / Does she believe in ghosts? “I believe in them as physical presences and I also believe in the role they play in dreams. There are certain characters who appear, and reappear; it’s like another relationship”. Was she born in Tullamore? “No, Dublin” , and on hearing my disappointment adds, “I, was immediately brought to Offaly. She was raised at Pallas Lake (“a lake not a village”) about seven miles west of Tullamore and is the second child of six. “have one sister and four brothers. My mother was the principal of the local national school [Gort na Mona] and my father was a civil servant.”’ Carr speaks further of building a theatre in a shed at home: ‘our dramas were strange and free and cruel […] We loved the havoc, the badness, the blood spillage, but loved equally restoring order and harmony. Ignorantly we had hit upon the first and last principle of dramatic art.’ Ed. at Sacred Heart Convent, Tullamore; moved to Presentation College, Mountmellick, for Leaving Cert.; studied English and Philosophy at UCD; loved Kant, Derrida the deconstructionist; also loved reading Plato; joined Drama Soc.; abortive attempt at MAs in literature and film; first play Beckettian (‘trying very hard to be Beckettian’); Battersby remarks, ‘many of her characters converse in the shorthand used by people who know each other too well too waste words’; increasingly drawn to prose; Carr says, ‘it is difficult, Irish writers don’t write that well about love, except for McGahern. and ends, ‘I’m a playwright who would love to write short stories.’

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Eileen Battersby, ‘A double take of savage realism’, [interview article], in The Irish Times (7 Feb. 2009), Weekend Review, p.9: ‘[...]The minefield called family dominates her work. It is a subject to which the has brought energy and insight; sudden humour as well as savage realism. She has explored many taboo subjects; incest, murder and revenge - the violence, although often graphic, succeeds in emerging as quasi-metaphysical. Carr is exploring the mind and memory. “I don’t know what makes a play work, I think that’s a hard one, but I do know when a play doesn’t work. You know when you are out of tune, when you are forcing it and the writer’s hand is all over it. I do a lot of drafts” / Theatre, she believes, “is people, space, time and talk.” It also takes immense precision and a sophisticated grasp of simplicity, qualities she has mastered.”’.Further: ‘[...] the terse two-hander, The Cordelia Dream was comprehensively mauled by the British critics. How does she feel about such a negative reception? / “Not great as you can imagine, they really hated it,” she laughs, but I’ve had bad reviews before here, there and everywhere ... no one wants them, the bad reviews, I think the critics were wrong, I have to say that in order to be able to go on ... but I do think that they did miss the point of it.” / She is not defensive, her reaction is honest. In fact, her defence of the play is not only witty, it is also philosophical and logical. Carr is a deliberate, lucid thinker. She studied English and philosophy at University College Dublin, where she quickly discovered she was a playwright not an actor. Literature informs her art and her thought, her conversation flows with literary references. The study of philosophy opened further doors. Carr thinks on several levels at once. Her imaginative energy is well served by her practical reasoning. / She imagines, but she also questions. Of the visual arts and music; which at times feature in her work, she claims no special expertise “but I know what I like. ” Of The Cordelia Dream, she says: “It’s my response to King Lear, a play I love and one which I re-read about twice every year, the same as I do with Hamlet. There is a huge amount going on in King Lear, and I decided to concentrate on the four howls and the five nevers in Act V. I’ve always considered Cordelia, to be confrontational; here is Lear, facing his big day, about to divide his kingdom and she is looking for a fight, she refuses to play the game, to do the expected party piece in public.”’ (For full text version, see RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Reviews”, via index, or direct.)

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Christina Hunt Mahony (‘Funds, faculties and a nostalgia gap’, in The Irish Times, Sat. 12 April 2003, Weekend), writes: ‘The choice of Marina Carr’s On Raftery’s Hill for a major Irish arts festival at the Kennedy Centre in Washington is a case in point. The festival was a considerable success, but the play caused a furore, resulting in many empty seats after the interval and the incestuous rape which closed the first half. Cases of such abuse as Carr portrayed make the pages of Irish newspapers regularly, but the Irish abroad were unwilling or unable to accept this as a modern reality. For most emigrants the clock stops when they leave the country, and a degree of reverence for Irish institutions - family, religion, political probity and oul’ decency - is essential to the maintenance of Irish identity abroad.’

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Sean Doran, reviewing Marina Carr, On Raftery’s Hill (2000), in Books Ireland (Sept. 2001), writes: ‘The not-so grey eminence in this play is Red Raftery, a bullish man in his sixties. He dominates a half-wit son who lives on Prozac-type pills in the barn, a daughter who is about to marry a “scrubber”, another daughter who is probably both the mother and the sister of the first (the plot of the film Chinatown) and a crazed, dreaming grandmother. The language is at once unique and plausible, crude and aggressive […] There is an issue about land in relation to the forthcoming marriage, and prospective groom is ridiculed … the father … undresses his daughter by cutting her clothes off .. the action … ends with the cancellation of the marriage and the appearance of the mad granny in the wedding dress, an echo of O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night.’ Doran regards Carr as a playwright with ‘a grim, almost pitiless vision [who] has mapped her hinterland’, but considers it ‘one she must abandon if her workd is to grow and not stultify like her characters.’ (p.221.)

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Eleanor Margolies, ‘Violent Measures’, reviewing Conversations From a Homecoming (Gaiety Th., Dublin) and Marina Carr, Ariel (Abbey Th., Dublin), in Times Literary Supplement (8 Nov. 2002), gives account of the plot of the latter, which is set on sixteenth birthday of Ariel Fitzgerald whose father Fermoy, an ambitious politician , sees the world in apocalyptic terms and tells his brother Boniface, a priest, that he has divine backing for a reversal of the “age of compassion”, but that God requires a sacrifice of him. In the second half, Fermoy is poised to become Taoiseach ten years on despite his extreme policies and unorthodox theology while the disappearance of his daughter on her sixteenth birthday is treated as a personal tragedy. But when his wife Frances finally realises that he killed his daughter, she murders him in a frenzy. In the final act set two weeks after, their younger daughter Elaine kills Frances in turn. Margolies remarks: ‘This sequence of events is modelled on the sacrifice of lphigenia by Agamemnon en route to Troy, his subsequent murder by his wife, Clytaemnestra, and her death at the hands of their son, Orestes. In Euripides’ version of the story, our understanding of the social and religious pressures on Againemnon is coloured by a horrific detail: he previously killed Clytaemnestra’s first husband and child’, and asks of the play: ‘Is it a dramatic magnification of the everyday ways in which children are sacrificed to their parents’ ambitions, or Fermoy’s distorted justification for fulfilling an inexorable pattern of violence which stretches back to the Famine? Unlike lphigenia, Ariel is not given a speech in which to oppose or accept her death. Frances says that the “size of the night” in Fermoy is “past measuring”.’ Concludes, ‘Unfortunately, it is also difficult to measure the meaning of speeches and events in Ariel, especially the gory final deaths’, adding that the ‘difficulty arises partly from the characters’ passivity.’ Of the direction she comments: ‘A production that presented violent emotion simply as a form of possession would undermine Carr’s refusal to provide definitive explanations of the characters’ actions. Nevertheless, Walsh’s characterization, along with the impressive staging of the dragging of Cuura Lake for Ariel’s body, suggest how a more stylised production might have tackled the play.’ [… &c..]. In conclusion: ‘Carr employs a poetic language which can handle both the real and the mythical. It is the dramaturgy of Ariel which feels unwieldy, meshing a contemporary Ireland of television interviews, cement businesses and political machinations with the literal presence of ghosts, disembodied voices and violence.’

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Michael Billington, ‘Decadent Age’, review of Marina Carr and Mustapha Matura, in Guardian Weekly (17-23 Dec. 2004): ‘[…] Bravely, if not always wisely, Marina Carr has transplanted the story of Euripides Medea to the bogs of rural Ireland. Her heroine, Hester Swayne, widely regarded as “Jezebel witch”, is about to be jilted by her long-time lover, Carthage, so that he can marry a local landowner’s daughter. Warned to leave or die, Hester defiantly stays put, does her best to wreck her lover’s wedding and engages in a fateful tussle over their bastard daughter. / In the play by Euripides, Medea is like some natural force confronting a supposedly rational civilisation with its own brutality, but Carr’s Hester, abandoned by her mother in childhood, seems more like a sad victim of circumstance than a mythic prototype. / And, in a modern context, naggingly literal questions arise. Since the tormented Hester has been driven by jealousy to fraticide, you wonder why she is walking around scot-free. / The irony is that when Carr trains her eye on the realities of rural Ireland she writes superbly well. Much the best scene the play is the hilarious wedding of Carthage to the submissive Caroline. As in Carr’s earlier play, Portia Coughlan, I felt her gift is for scathingly accurate observation of Irish life.’ Billington’s critique focuses on the miscasting of Holly Hunter as Hester, in lieu of Olwen Fouere of the Dublin production.’ (for full text, see RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Reviews”, via index, or direct.)

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Lyn Gardner, review of Woman and Scarecrow at the Royal Court Th. [to 15 July], in The Guardian (Friday 23 June 2006): ‘In a simple room, adorned only by a large wardrobe, a dying woman, mother to eight children and wife to an unfaithful husband, lies on a bed. In a haze of morphine, crumpled sheets and regret, she looks back over her life. It is never easy becoming the past tense, and in the latest play from Irish writer Marina Carr the struggle between life and death - the thing in the wardrobe - is an epic one. Yet Carr’s play, crammed with wild laughter and dense with unshed tears, is not so much about dying as about how to live. / Those who have lived every single second to the full, have loved and been loved with unrestrained passion and who have never let rancour and revenge curdle them, have absolutely no need to visit this play. The rest of us most certainly do. “It is easy to be happy,” suggests the woman. “It is a decision. Like going to the dentist.” Why then, do we so often choose unhappiness, when the only person we spite is ourselves? / Like all Carr’s work, Woman and Scarecrow is laden with poetry and has flashes of romanticism, but here the tendency towards the lyrical is tempered with a robust humour that ensures the evening never becomes mawkish. It is made more palatable by two exquisitely judged central performances from Fiona Shaw as the woman and Brid Brennan as Scarecrow. / Perhaps the piece would benefit from a little editing. But this is a play that seeps into your very bones, making you realise that in squandering love we squander the best part of ourselves. (Column covers ‘What the other papers thought …’, listing ‘sharply divergent assessments’ from the Telegraph, Independent, Times, Sunday Times, Financial Times, and Evening Standard - the last-named markedly adverse.) [Accessed online 11 March 3007.]

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Eamonn Kelly, review of Woman and Scarecrow, in Books Ireland (Dec. 2006), pp.285-86: ‘A deathbed drama which starred Fiona Shaw as Woman and Brid Brennan as Scarecrow […] Shaw as Woman, is a terminal case confined to bed, prompting some critics to describe drama as static, where she is visited by Scarecrow/Death. Throughout the performance, Woman, a mother of eight children, laughs, cries and rages as she reflects on her life in morphine-induced delirium. Scarecrow helps Woman towards acceptance by forcing her to facce the truth of her life and accept the consequences of her choices and actions. In this respect Scarecrow is something of a conscience figure, part helpmate part tormentor. / Woman is also visited by Him, a typically useless example of masculinity, often found in women’s plays; a misogynist and a coward who, it transpires, served both to give Woman’s life meaning while at the same time robbing it of any meaning whatsoever. In this, Him displays a certain genius in the creation of great promise and abject disappointment in Woman’s life. / Woman is also visited by Auntie, a sensible elder woman from the West of Ireland with her feet planted firmly in reality who provides much of the comic relief in the play. She holds the view, inspired by her upbringing in the rocky, barren West, that life is a battle of will over circumstance. Making it clear that she hasn’t much time or patience for people lying down and dying and trying for a peacful passing, she urges Woman to “sit up and have a bowl of soup and put an end to this contrariness and whim … You mother was the same. No finishing power. Anyone can get through the first half. You start a life. You finish it. You don’t bail out at the crossroads because you don’t like the scenery.” [&c.]’ (p.286.) Also mentions Stella McCuskar and Peter Gowen in the Royal Court premier.

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Eamonn Kelly, review of The Cordelia Dream, in Books Ireland (Summer 2009): ‘Marina Carr makes a rare misstep inher most recent play [...] which was produced in the Wilton Theatre last January. The play concerns an elderly man, a musician and composer, and a woman, who may or may not be his daughter, who is also a musician and composer. He is jealous of her career and she is hurt by this and visits him to either find some form of redemption, or simply to have a showdown. The dialogue is uncomfortable, with the unnamed Man and Woman arguing viciously, but with enough education to ground their insults in Shakespearean allusions, the dialogue being a kind of highbrow slanging match, with both characters likening themselves to the relationships between King Lear and his daughters, Goneril, Reagan and Cordelia. / The play was itself viciously mauled by the London critics, to the point of carcrash really, which, in fairness, provided a kind of morbid entertainment. To say that they reviled the piece would be an understatement. The question is, why? It was certainly nothing personal, the same critics have admired Carr’s work before, particularly her willingness to write in a classical tragic mode, which, when it works, and it usually does with Marina Carr, is a rare achievement in these post-modern times where irony rules, which can often make it difficult for seriousness to be taken seriously. My own theory on this play’s poor reception is that Carr usually grounds the philosophical ideas of her plays in Greek allusions, whereas this time she chose to do the same thing using Shakespeare as a source. This, in the home of Shakespeare, may have been the play’s undoing. Many of the critics complained that the allusions to Shakespeare were far too obvious and even overworked and that the play itself failed to benefit from these Shakespearean touchstones. [...; &c.]’ (p.149.)

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Quotations
By The Bog of Cats
(1998) - pers. dram., Hester Swane, Carthage Kilbride, Josie Kilbride (Swane), Mrs Kilbride, Monica Murray, The Catwoman, Xaxier Cassidy, Caroline Cassidy, The Ghost Fancier, The Ghost of Joseph Sware, Young Dunne, Father Willow, the Two Waiters. Hester: […] Swar the age of ice have returned. Wouldn’t ya almost wish if ithad, do away with us all like the dinosaurs.’ (p.15); ‘This here is my house and my garden and my stretch of the bog and no wan’s runnin’ me out of here.’ (p.15.)

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By The Bog of Cats (1998) - cont.: Cat Woman, ‘Keeper of the Bog of Cats’ (p.19); [to Hester]: ‘There’s some fierce wrong ya done that’s caught up with ya.’ (p.21.); Hester to Catwoman: ‘Is there anything them blind eyes doesn’t see writ in a bog hole? (p.23.); ‘I was born on the Bog of Cats and on the Bog of Cats I’ll end me days. I’ve as much right to this place as any of yees, for it holds me to it in ways it has never held yees. And as for me tinker blood, I’m proud of it. It give me an edge over all of yees around her[e], allows me to see yees for the inbred, underbred, bog-brained shower yees are. I’m warnn’ ya now, Carthage, you go through with this sham weddin’ and you’ll never see Josie again.’ (p.35.)

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By The Bog of Cats (1998) - cont.: Hester [to Carthage:] ‘You’re lavin’ [57] me no choice but a vicious war against ya.’; Joseph’s ghost: ‘Death’s a big country, Hester.’ (p.60); Hester to Joseph’s ghost: ‘The smug neck of ya! It was axin’ to be cut. And she even called ya after her. And calls me Hester. What sourt of a name is Hester? Hester’s after no wan. And she saves her own name for you – didn’t she ever tell ya about me?’ (p.61); Hester and Joseph: ‘She stole my life from me.’ So you stole mine.’ [62] ‘Someone had to pay’ (pp. 62-62); Hester to Josie: ‘[the sea] it’s just one big bog hole, Josie, and blue, that’s all, nothin’ remarkable about it.’ [67]; [Hester to Carthage:] ‘All’s not well in Paradise’ [on a stage: ‘How do you like your Paradise now?’ [73]; Would somebody stop me before I do worser [interpolated in stage performance, at p.67]; ‘All me life people have walked away weithout a word of explanation. Well, I want to tell ya somethin’, Josie, if you leave me ya’ll die […] It’s a sourt of curse was put on ya be tha Catwoman and the black swan.’ (p.67.)

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By The Bog of Cats (1998) - cont.: Hester [to Carthage]: ‘Ya won’t forget me now, Carthage, and when all of this is over or half-remembered and ya think ya’ve almost forgotten me again, take a walk along the Bog of Cats and wait for a purlin’ wind through your hair or asoft breath be your ear or a rustle behind ya. That’ll be me and Josie ghostin’ ya.’ (p.80); Monica: ‘Hester - she’s gone - Hester - She’s cut her heart out - it’s lyin’ there on top of her chest like some dark heathered bird.’ (p.81; End.)

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Ariel (2002): ‘I had a drame, a drame so beauhiful I wanted to stay in ud till the end a time. I’m in a yella cuurtyard wud God and we’re chewing the fah and then this girl wud wings appears by hees side. And I say, who owns her? And God says she’s his. And I say, give us the loan of her will ya? No, he says, she’s noh earth flavour, like he’s talking abouh ice-crame. And stupidly I say, I’ll take her anyway. Alrigh, he says, smilin a me rale sly, alrigh, buh remember this is a loan. I know, I know knowing natin. And the time’ll come when I’ll want her returned, he says. Yeah, yeah, I say, fleeing the cuurtyard wud her before he changes his mind. Ariel. Thah was Ariel.’ (p.57; quoted in Loredana Salis, ‘“So Greek with Consequence”: Classical Tragedy in Contemporary Irish Drama’, PhD Diss., UUC, 2005.)

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Marina Carr: Plays 1 (London: Faber, 1999), Introduction: ‘When I was a scut we built a theatre in our shed; …. Our dramas were bloody and brutal. Everyone suffered: the least you could hope to get away with was a torturing. And still we all lived happily ever after. We had no mercy for Withces, but since the Witch had all the power and all the magic, we could never finally throttle her with all the righteous savagery of our scuttish hearts. …/ Scuts know instinctively that morality is a human invention, fallible and variable as the wind, and so our dramas were strange and free and cruel. But scuts also [ix] have a sense of justice - bar the Witch, I don’t know what she was about - and hence our desire for the thing to end well. We loved the havoc, the badness, the blood spillage, but loved equally restoring some sort of botched order and harmony. Ignorantly we had hit upon the first and last principles of dramatic art. And the Witch? Maybe she was Time. Time we didn’t understand or fully inhabit, and yet we respected and feared her. And fell humbly away under her spells and charms and curses. If I’m after anything when I’m writing plays, it’s the scuts’ view of things, as they are or were or should be, and perhaps once in a blue moon be given a sideways glance of it all as the first dramatist might see it and how it should be done.’ (pp.ix-x; Feb. 1999.)

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Afterword’ to Portia Coughlan, in The Dazzling Dark: New Irish Plays, 1999: ‘Now I think it’s no accident it’s [Co. Offaly] called Midlands. For me at least it has become a metaphor for the cross-roads between worlds.’ (Quoted in Clare Wallace, ‘Desire, Destiny and Dystopia in Marina Carr’s drama’, paper, IASIL 1999.)

Midland Accent. I’ve given a slight flavour in the text, but the real midland accent is a lot flatter and rougher and more guttural than the written word allows.’ (Stage directions, By the Bog of Cats, 1998 [p.8].)

Ghosts, &c.: ‘The culture believes in ghosts, certainly in the country. The banshee was a huge thing […] In the city everything is forgotten now, everything is homogenised, and all of this seems so remote, but to me it’s not remote, it’s entirely natural. I’m a great believer in the whole angel thing, I don’t known what I believe in, but I do believe in something.’ (Reading the Future: Irish Writers in Conversation with Mike Murphy, RTE [www.rte.ie/radio/ .. &c.; quoted in Clare Wallace, ‘Authentic Reproductions’, in Cathy Leeney, ed., The Theatre of Marina Carr, 2003, p.55.)

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Notes
Low in the Dark (1989): An exploration of the myths and misconceptions between the sexes. In Bender and Binder’s world, men are a necessary irritant. Their time is spent reliving their relationships, for the most part unsuccessful events. Baxter and Bone, ignorant and innocent of women, spend their time imagining the Ideal Woman. Orchestrating this furore is Curtains, who has her own version of the story of Man and Woman. (See Dollee online; accessed 8.7.2009.)

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The Mai (1994): A beautiful and accomplished woman of forty has been left by her cellist husband Robert who is stifled by her perfectionism; the play is set in the West of Ireland, on the banks of Lough Owel, on the day of his return after four years when a troubled reunion is disturbed by a cast of idiosyncratic characters including an opium-smoking one-hundred-year-old matriarch, Grandma Fraochlan - the ‘Spanish Beauty’ with her ‘ancient and fantastical memory’ and the meddling daughters, Agnes and Julie. (Derived from Dollee online; accessed 8.7.2009.)

Portia Coughlan (1996), the drama of a woman yearning her spectral twin brother at the bottom of the Belmont river and living lovelessly with her rich husband and their children while seeking solace in soulless affairs. The London production of May 1996 is covered in the final chapter of Peter James Harris, From stage to page: critical reception of Irish plays in the London theatre, 1925-1996 (Peter Lang 2011).

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By the Bog of Cats (1998): Set in the mysterious landscape of the bogs of rural Ireland, Carr’s lyrical and timeless play tells the story of Hester Swane, an Irish traveller with a deep and unearthly connection to her land. Tormented by the memory of a mother who deserted her, Hester is once again betrayed, this time by the father of her child, the man she loves. On the brink of despair, she embarks on a terrible journey of vengeance as the secrets of her tangled history are revealed. (See Dollee online; accessed 8.7.2009.)

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Meat and Salt (2003): When the scrupulously honest Little Daughter tells the tyrannical Big Daddy she loves him as meat loves salt he banishes her from his Kingdom. She falls onto the Mountains of the Moon Hounds and after many adventures, she meets The Young King who falls in love with her honesty. They agree to marry and her father is invited to the feast only to find a surprise waiting for him. (See Dollee online; accessed 8.7.2009.)

The Cordelia Dream (2008) - Haunted by her dream of Cordelia and Lear, a woman confronts an elderly man, her lifelong antagonist and rival. During their passionate altercation he dismisses her success as a composer and demands she make the ultimate sacrifice: for him to flourish she, his protegee, must be silent. Five years later, she returns for a final and devastating encounter. The play was premiered by Royal Shakespeare Company at Wilton’s Music Hall, London in Dec. 2008. (See COPAC summary.)

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Trinity Today (Oct. 2009) reports that Marina Carr has been appointed Adjunct Professor co-teaching playwriting with Melissa Sihra on the Theatre and Performance course in the School od Drama, Film and Music. Sihra is Lecturer in Drama Studies.

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