Location

Portland State University

Start Date

7-5-2019 11:00 AM

End Date

7-5-2019 1:00 PM

Subjects

Marina Carr (1964- ). Low in the Dark -- Criticism and interpretation, Narration (Rhetoric), Gender identity in literature

Abstract

Low in the Dark by Irish playwright Marina Carr is an absurdist play that focuses heavily on concepts of gender as performance. It does so mainly through role-playing scenes in which two same-gender characters reenact a heterosexual relationship. These scenes can be tied to Marie-Laure Ryan’s conceptions of the four kinds of textual alternative possible worlds (TAPWs) within possible worlds theory: fantasy, wish, obligation, and knowledge. An analysis of the play’s role-playing scenes in conjunction with gender performativity and these four types of TAPW reveals the constructed-ness of gender norms within the work, which further calls into question a strictly policed gender binary both in the world of the text and our own world. Further, the relationship between Carr's work surrounding the gender binary calls into question the nature of what makes her work absurd: not the mismatch between the characteristics of gender performance that we observe in Low in the Dark, but rather the absurdity of a strictly enforced gender binary itself.

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/28644

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May 7th, 11:00 AM May 7th, 1:00 PM

“It Lurks in the Saying, Not What’s Being Said”: Possible Worlds Theory and Gender Performativity in Marina Carr’s Low in the Dark

Portland State University

Low in the Dark by Irish playwright Marina Carr is an absurdist play that focuses heavily on concepts of gender as performance. It does so mainly through role-playing scenes in which two same-gender characters reenact a heterosexual relationship. These scenes can be tied to Marie-Laure Ryan’s conceptions of the four kinds of textual alternative possible worlds (TAPWs) within possible worlds theory: fantasy, wish, obligation, and knowledge. An analysis of the play’s role-playing scenes in conjunction with gender performativity and these four types of TAPW reveals the constructed-ness of gender norms within the work, which further calls into question a strictly policed gender binary both in the world of the text and our own world. Further, the relationship between Carr's work surrounding the gender binary calls into question the nature of what makes her work absurd: not the mismatch between the characteristics of gender performance that we observe in Low in the Dark, but rather the absurdity of a strictly enforced gender binary itself.