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Portia Coughlan
Studio Theatre, 2001

director's note
Cast & Crew


Director's Note


“The true picture of the past flits by,” writes philosopher Walter Benjamin. In this momentary picture, we are presented with a “dialectical image”; a spectral flash in which the past becomes briefly recognizable in the present. Carr’s text uses notions of doubling, twinning and repetition to both represent and challenge notions of historical continuity. In this production, images and sequences repeat in overlapping pairs, both as an attempt to test Benjamin’s ideas in the theatrical realm, and as a way to explore incongruity in historical repetition. -- Natalie Harrower

Marina Carr’s plays are among the most interesting and complex of the contemporary Irish theatre. Raised in the Irish midlands – which she uses as her setting – and educated at University College Dublin, Carr uses intertextuality and the carnivalization of genre to create female protagonists who rage against the world. In 1995, Marina Carr was the first woman to become playwright-in-residence at the National Theatre. She was writer in residence at Trinity College Dublin in 1999-2000. Her most recent play is On Raferty’s Hill (2000), and in 1999, Faber & Faber published Marina Carr: Plays 1, which includes Low in the Dark (1989), The Mai (1994), Portia Coughlan (1996) and By the Bog of Cats... (1998). This award-winning playwright’s work has been produced extensively in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States, and has been performed in the Netherlands and in Germany. However, despite the popularity of new Irish work in Canada – McPherson’s The Weir, McDonagh’s Leenane Trilogy, Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa and Molly Sweeney, Marie Jones’s Stones in his Pockets and recently Malachy McKenna’s Tillsonburg – Carr’s works have never received a full production here. -- Lisa Fitzpatrick