44: Low in the Dark

4 May

Another Marina Carr play but, I feel almost guilty for saying it, not such a good one. Which either means that I need to go back and read it again in the hopes that I “get it” next time, or that she might just be human and sometimes write plays that are okay but not brilliant. (Or it could be that it was her first play and she was still developing as a writer.)

Cat and book

Low in the Dark is an abstract, absurd look at the war between the sexes; fertility; communication and sexual stereotypes. With a character called Curtain, whom you never catch a glimpse of because she is covered head-to-toe with curtains, drapes and blinds, you know you’re entering a mad world, where anything is possible.

Bender spends a lot of her time in a bath, giving birth to hordes of babies and hoping that a man, any man, will come along and be the one. Her possible daughter, Binder, juggles the babies (sometimes literally) and pines for a child of her own. Maybe. Or perhaps not. The two engage in a recurring game where one of them plays the man and says the dialogue that a man might have said or would say. Curtain sometimes comes into the bathroom and sits on the toilet and tells them a story of a man and a woman walking along a long road and attempting to converse.

Bone and Baxter are two men in another room, playing at being women. But then Bone gets pregnant and Baxter gets jealous. And the baby Bone is pregnant with is Binder’s. Confused yet? Good!

BONE: I want a permanent relationship for a month or two, and sure who’s to say the third month would be the death of us? Are you happy?

BINDER: No, I’m not!

BONE: I want a woman who knows how to love. I want laser beams coming out of her eyes when I enter the room. I want her to knit like one possessed. I want her to cook softly.

BINDER: I want a man who’ll wash my underwear, one who’ll brush my hair, one who’ll talk before, during and after. I want a man who’ll make other men look mean.

I much prefer Marina Carr’s later work, but there are still moments of beauty in Low in the Dark. The idea of cooking softly is one of them. She has a rare gift with language.

Publisher: Faber and Faber

Cast: 3F, 2M

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