‘Woman and Scarecrow’ by Marina Carr


Excerpt from Woman and Scarecrow by Marina Carr

Enter the thing in the wardrobe, regal, terrifying, one black wing, cobalt beak, clawed feet, taloned fingers. It is scarecrow, transformed. Stands looking at woman, shakes itself down, woman stares at it.

Scarecrow takes woman’s hand, pierces vein in her wrist, a fountain of blood shoots out. Scarecrow dips quill into woman’s wrist. A cry of pain from Woman.

Woman We don’t belong here. There must be
another Earth. And yet there was a moment when
I thought it might be possible here. A moment
so elusive it’s hardly worth mentioning . . . an
ordinary day with the ordinary sun of a late
Indian summer shining on the grass as I sat in the
car waiting to collect the children from school.
Rusalka on the radio, her song to the moon,
Rusalka pouring her heart out to the moon, her
love for the prince, make me human, she sings,
make me human so I can have him. And something
about the alignment of sun and wind and
song on this most ordinary of afternoons stays
with me, though what it means is beyond me and
what I felt is forgotten now, but the bare facts, me,
the sun, the shivering grass, Rusalka singing to
the moon. And I wonder is this not the prayer
each of us whispers when we pause to consider.
Make me human. Make me human. And then
divine. And I wonder is it for these elusive
prayers we are here, these half sentences that
vanish into the ether almost before we can utter
them. Living is almost nothing and we brave
little mortals investing so much in it.

Scarecrow You’re determined to go with romance on your lips.

Woman I know as well as the next that the arc of
our time here bends to tragedy. How can it be
otherwise when we think where we are going?
But we must mark those moments, those
passionate moments, however small. I looked up
passionate in the  dictionary once because I thought
I had never known it. And do you know what passion
means ?

Scarecrow It comes from the Latin, pati, to suffer

© Marina Carr , all rights reserved

Excerpted from *Woman and Scarecrow, published Gallery Press, 2006.

scarecrow cover

Gallery Press celebrated their 43rd Anniversary in publishing this week of February 2013. Marina Carr is a playwright known to us for the excellence of her work. I was incredibly privileged to witness Marina read from her play Woman and Scarecrow in Galway during Gallery Press’ 40th Anniversary celebrations three years ago. I blogged about Carr’s reading here.

I  am interested in how writers use the theatrical-space to create image and symbol, as much as I am interested in how poets use the theatrical-space for poetic works. Gallery Press publish both poetry and drama, thus I wanted to look at Marina Carr’s use of structure and symbol in Woman and Scarecrow. Thank you to Suella from The Gallery Press who has helped me to find the relevant sections of the play, and who has often aided me in the past with regard to permissions for hosting Gallery poets on this blog.

  • Images from Woman and Scarecrow can be found at the SecretSpaces blog

4 responses to “‘Woman and Scarecrow’ by Marina Carr”

    • The image of Scarecrow writing an account in the blood of Woman was very visual – it is an amazing play. I think it was performed in Tallaght as recently as 2012. Gallery Press produces some marvellous visual artists both in drama and in poetry. They are 43 and it was a small way of celebrating Irish art.


    • Thanks. Theatre is one of the spaces where the visual/aural and poetic arts meld. I like the way the lines blur in theatrical spaces. I saw a reading of the play. Interestingly , it was very difficult to source images based on the reading.To explain, Carr stood on an empty stage and read from those sections – without the playography. For me, it stands as a piece of visual art, quite apart from its production and performance as a piece of theatre.


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