Theater in Eleven Dimensions: A Conversation with Marina Carr

Marina Carr

The 2012 Puterbaugh Fellow

“Lately I have begun to suspect if there is such a thing as eternity it resides in the hearts and minds of those who have loved us, for time, memory, eternity are merely constructs of this fallen world and it is here among the fallen we will be remembered and forgotten.”—Woman, in Woman and Scarecrow (2006)

Marina Carr is an influential voice in contemporary drama in Ireland and beyond. Born in 1964, Carr grew up in County Offaly and studied English and philosophy at University College Dublin, where she later focused her graduate studies on the work of Samuel Beckett. To date, Carr has written sixteen plays, and she is now considered—along with Brian Friel—one of Ireland’s most important playwrights since Beckett.

Carr’s awards include the Dublin Theatre Festival Best New Play Award, a Macaulay Fellowship, a Hennessey Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and an E. M. Forster Prize from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. She teaches playwriting at Trinity College Dublin and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from her alma mater. She is a member of Aosdána, a peer-elected affiliation of Irish artists whose body of work has been deemed original and creative, and she has been writer-in-residence at Trinity College, Princeton University, and the Abbey Theatre. Her plays are published by Faber & Faber (London) and the Gallery Press (Loughcrew, Oldcastle, Co. Meath) and have been translated into six languages.

Carr’s recent plays include Phaedra Backwards, which premiered at the McCarter Theatre in October 2011, and 16 Possible Glimpses (based on the life of Anton Chekhov), which premiered at the Abbey Theatre’s Dublin Theatre Festival in September 2011. She is currently working on new plays for the Abbey Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Ark, Ireland’s children’s theater.

Nancy Finn teaches dramatic literature and Irish studies in the English Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and theater studies in the Performing Arts Department at Emerson College. She received her PhD in theater from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Her research interests include modern and contemporary Irish theater and drama, contemporary women playwrights, and theater historiography. She is also an actor and dramaturge. She is currently writing a monograph on the work of Marina Carr.