2012 Puterbaugh Festival
The next Puterbaugh Festival (March 6-10, 2012) will feature Irish playwright Marina Carr, including performances of her play By the Bog of Cats with the OU School of Drama. Read Carr's biography, the synopsis of her play By the Bog of Cats and the syllabus for the Puterbaugh course surrounding the festival.
By the Bog of Cats
Continuing in the legacy of such Irish playwrights as W. B. Yeats, John Synge, and Samuel Beckett, Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats (2002) is both powerful and poetic. Loosely based upon Euripides’ Medea and set in the present day on the hauntingly desolate Bog of Cats, the drama presents the story of a woman fighting for her own happiness.
The play opens as Hester Swane, an Irish Traveller, is still reeling from the pain of her mother’s abandonment and now faces the agony of being discarded by her longtime lover and father of her child, Carthage Kilbride, who is to marry the young daughter of a wealthy local farmer. Despite the discouragement of her neighbors and enemies, Hester resiliently refuses to give up the hope that Carthage or her mother, Big Josie Swane, will return to her.
As the play progresses, Hester’s resilience turns to desperate revenge. With no place to belong or feel affection, she threatens to violently reclaim what is hers. However, in her attempts she suffers the public humiliation of dismissal from Carthage’s own wedding, and even her daughter, Josie, rejects her. Through a series of encounters with various spectral figures, Hester’s sins of murder and deceit are uncovered. Her plans of revenge are foiled and, amid the tragedy of the final moments, we see a soul driven to action by the profound despair of human unkindness.
Through its themes of isolation, rejection, and the uncertainty of existence, By the Bog of Cats speaks to the postmodern consciousness of audiences today. — Compiled by Catie Combes