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SCARF: ' Troublesome Women’: Wise Women and Witches in the Plays of Lady Gregory and Marina Carr’

Monday, 26 November 2018, 12 – 1pm

SCARF: ' Troublesome Women’: Wise Women and Witches in the Plays of Lady Gregory and Marina Carr’

Led by Dr. Melissa Sihra, Head of Drama, School of Creative Arts, TCD.

Dr. Melissa Sihra  talk will explore the figure of the witch or wise-woman in a selection of plays by Lady Gregory and Marina Carr. The Witch appears in many Irish plays by women from Lady Gregory’s The Golden Apple: A Play for Kiltartan Children (1916) to Dorothy Macardle’s Witch’s Brew (1929), Christine Longford’s Witch Hunt (Gate Theatre 1952), Edna O’Brien’s A Pagan Place (Royal Court Theatre 1972), Éilís Ní Dhuibhne’s Dún na mBan Trí Thine (The Fort of the Fairy Women is on Fire Peacock 1994), Emma Donoghue’s Kissing the Witch (Magic Theatre, San Francisco, 2000) and Margaret Perry’s Porcelain (Peacock 2018), all of which present female characters ‘as representative of ancient, but powerful energies denied by patriarchal hegemonies.’  The witch-figure has long embodied the patriarchal fear of independent women such as the Wise-woman Biddy Early, who Lady Gregory was fascinated by, and who was excluded by the Catholic Church and State for her herbal healing practices. The figure of the witch or wise-woman recurs in the plays of Gregory and Carry and offers a powerful image of female independence and a way to rethink women’s dynamic histories. My work explores connections between Lady Gregory and Marina Carr for the first time, resituating Gregory as a central figure of Irish-theatre, offering a lineage with Marina Carr which I identify through aspects of language, myth, landscape, women, storytelling and nature. Carr’s theatre draws upon the rich well of pre-Christian folk-belief which is present in Gregory’s plays such as The Pot of Broth (with Yeats 1902), The Golden Apple (1916) and The Full Moon (1913). Both playwrights combine realms of the numinous with transformational modes of storytelling and strong female characters.

The School of Creative Arts Research Forum meets weekly in the Neill Theatre, Long Room Hub on Mondays at 12-1 in MT. The aim of the Forum is to give a space for School researchers, both staff and postgraduate students, to share their ideas in an informal, supportive environment. It is also an opportunity for the School to hear about the research of colleagues both from within TCD and outside who share our research interests. In line with the research agenda of the School, talks will encompass traditional research and practice-based research. We also offer special sessions on research funding. In semester one, all talks will be given by School staff, in semester two we expect research students, specifically doctoral students, to contribute to the Forum. Each talk should last around 20 mins and will be followed by a Q & A.

See full schedule here

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Accessibility: Yes
Research Theme: Creative Arts Practice, Digital Humanities
Event Category: Alumni, Arts and Culture, Lectures and Seminars, Public, Workshops and Training
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public
Cost: Free

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