Dylan Thomas’ assertion that we should “rage against the dying of the light” takes on a physical (and perhaps metaphysical) form in Marina Carr’s visceral Woman and Scarecrow. Taking the moments before the “dying of the light” as its subject matter, the play examines the eternal battle against this difficult and inevitable decline using the great humour and truth Carr’s plays are known for.
Visiting a bed-ridden Woman, Auntie Aah, played by Geraldine Plunkett professes that “How we die says it all about how we lived”, and the truth of this utterance comes to the fore as Woman and Scarecrow battle against the life that has gone before them.
Woman is on her deathbed, coming to the end of a life which she never quite managed to live on her own terms; a loveless thirty year marriage to the mercurial Man, played by Mark O’Regan, who sees her as nothing more than some abstract figure: a mother, a lover, a wife. Eight children whom she hid behind in order to barricade herself from the reality of a life lived without passion. In her final hours, she battles with this figure of Scarecrow, (played to great effect by Noelle Brown) the voice of reason, of truth, of conscience and bitterness.
Joan Sheehy is excellent in the title role, inhabiting a woman facing the terrible truth of a life half-lived and the prospect of an ending she has no control over. She vacillates wildly between terror, bargaining and for a few short moments, acceptance. Her situation is one which is familiar to many, as evidenced by the many moments of black humour throughout which were met by knowing laughter from an enthralled audience.
This is familiar ground for Marina Carr, whose plays often deal with those caught between the realm of the living and the dead, but her work breathes new life into old tales and themes long-discussed and debated.
This production by Blood in the Alley Theatre Company does justice to Carr’s extraordinary text, with strong performances throughout. The message is a dark one, but is delivered with truth and wry humour. An exceptional play, not to be missed.
– Cara Groome Travers
Woman and Scarecrow runs for 4 more nights at the Civic Theatre, Tallaght. Catch this brilliant production while you can.
To book tickets – phone our box office on 01 4627477 or book online here.