It is with great excitement that the Irish Heritage Theatre announces its Fall 2019 production Woman and Scarecrow by Marina Carr. After a highly successful and critically acclaimed “Fathers of Ireland” season last year featuring Lay Me Down Softly ( second Barrymore recommendation) and IHT’s beloved production of Da , which was the company’s best attended show to date, IHT moves to a season of plays dedicated to exploring the final days of life as we know it. The Irish Heritage Theatre’s first “End of Days in Ireland” offering is the aforementioned Woman and Scarecrow, following the last day of the life of the titular character as she wrestles with her inner demons and her alter ego. IHT will follow that up with the classic, Steward of Christendom by Sebastian Barry, a Lear-like exploration of a former officer’s final days.
Woman and Scarecrow by Marina Carr is the story of a passionate and deeply flawed woman- mother of eight and wife to a remorseful husband-who is facing the end of her life and looking back on her past. Pathos and bitter humor mix as Woman comes to terms with who she is with the help of the otherworldly Scarecrow. The Scarecrow represents her alter ego, her constant companion who confronts Woman on her mistakes what might have been. As with many people in their final moments, Woman wrestles with herself and attempts to reconcile her past with the unknown. Emotionally gripping, brutally honest, and darkly comic, Woman and Scarecrow brings that uniquely Irish sensibility of light and dark to the stage. This is a story that needs to be told, as everyone experiences tragedy in their lives, and so many people die after long battles with illness. The people that love them, who are also deeply flawed, are forced to look at what they have done and what they haven’t. All human beings pass at some point, and most of people aren’t ready. The play explores universal issues and is told by one of the greatest living female Irish playwrights with finely drawn multi-dimensional female characters who are not stock types or standard in any way. They are both real and mythical, complicated and strong. Woman and Scarecrow is also quintessentially Irish. Death is terrifying, and the production will draw heavily on that, with frightening moments as Woman comes out of her death bed and does a dance of death with the Scarecrow.
As the only company in Philadelphia dedicated to producing Irish and Irish American plays, The Irish Heritage Theatre is fulfilling its mission by presenting yet another facet of Irish culture told from the Irish woman’s perspective. IHT produced By the Bog of Cats, also by Carr, in the 2017-2018 season and received a Barrymore Award (Best Supporting Performer- Tina Brock) for the show as well as other a Phindie Critics’ Award for Best Actress (K. Quinn). Carr’s plays speak to the heart, and Woman and Scarecrow definitely fits the bill.
Woman and Scarecrow is very female driven. In theatre as in life, women are so often given secondary roles. This is not the case in Woman and Scarecrow. Three of the four characters are women, and IHT’s production team is almost all women. In addition to the performers, so far IHT is working with a female director, stage manager, costume designer, graphic and promotional designer, set designer, PR Director, box office manager, social media manager, and two female assistant producers. IHT’s artistic director, Peggy Mecham is also the director of the play, and brings a great sense of feminism to the project. All of these merits and goals are reasons for the company to produce this show. IHT is also fortunate to have several people of color on our team, including Quinn Eli as our dramaturg.
The IHT has been called bold and risk-taking. Given its size, the company is always challenging itself to produce the best possible theatre on a small budget. It is with great pleasure that IHT announces its return to the Plays and Players, who will co-produce the show. And IHT is thrilled to announce that we will be on the Mainstage once again. Plays and Players is now officially the Irish Heritage Theatre’s home. So many other theatre companies cannot claim that they do have a permanent home base. Having that
This Barrymore eligible production will be directed by Peggy Mecham, and features David Bardeen, Mary Lee Bednarek, Tina Brock and Kirsten Quinn, all either Barrymore nominee or winners. The rest of our team includes: Quinn Eli (Dramaturg) Siobhan Merk and McShane Theatricals (Set), Jaidy Schweers (Graphic design), Jack Zafares (Music and Sound), Andrew Cowles (Lighting), Barbie McShane (Costumes), Oliver Donahue (fight choreography), and Megan Coyle (Stage manager).
Please join the Irish Heritage Theatre for this exciting work. The show will run October 24-November 9th. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:30pm. Tickets are $25 for general admission; $20 for seniors; and $15 for students, theatre industry members and for groups of ten or more. Also check for us on Funsavers for certain performances. For production information and to purchase tickets go to: www.irishheritagetheatre.org, our Brown Paper Ticket link is https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4257396.