Monday, 30 June 2008

The Mai

Spending some time at grandparents´ place alone, without a television or any other technical comforts (expect the radio with CD record player) I was reading a lot. One of things I read was a play The Mai by an Irish dramatist Marina Carr. And I must say: Read it! Read it! Read it!!!
It is a ballad about one family´s love and fate, where the guilts of ancestors project to the lives of descendants.
Once upon a time according to an old Irish legend... Coillte, the Mountains God´s daughter, fell in love with Bláth, the lord of flowers. She left her father´s land and ran over his mountains and over the Dark Lady´s bogs to the Bláth´s land. And they lived there happily together over the whole summer. When autumn began, Bláth said Coillte that he had to leave for the Dark Lady´s land because he is under her spell. And that he would be back in spring again.
Coillte was impatient and wanted him back sooner than in spring. She decided to set out for a journey to the Dark witch land. When she got to the Dark lady´s hideaway, Bláth didn´t notice her, didn´t talk to her, didn´t touch her. He was under the spell. Coillte was so desperate that she laid down in front of their hideaway and started to cry. She cried so many tears that they became a big lake and after some time she dissolved in this lake of tears.
In spring Blath kept his promise and returned to the place where he left Coillte in autumn. But she wasn´t there and he started to look for her. Since then he has been roving on the banks of the lake and playing the sad songs for his beloved Coillte.
Once upon a time there was the Owl lake. And on one of its bank a woman called Mai built a big house for her husband Robert (and their children) with a wish to bring him back. And so she looks from the big window to the lake and listens to the nostalgic songs of swans. Or it is the songs by Blath? And Mai doesn´t notice the similarity between her story and the story of Blath and Coillte...
The Mai is full of secrets and magic atmosphere, which penetrates to the everyday events of Mai and her family, full of powerful women with different ages and destinies.
It is a trip to the Irish countryside, meeting with a woman who should be a fairy. Also a meeting with her two sisters (divorcing and always looking for the right one Beck, and married Connie), her two aunts (unmarried Agnes and Julie), her 100-year-old opium smoking and mulberry wine drinking grandmother Fraochlan, her daughter Millie (who is a narrator of their stories), and of course a meeting with Robert, who comes back. But people usually don´t change....
Millie: "Gods and mortals called out for us to change our course.. and, not listening, we walked on and on."
Grandmother Fraochlan: "You're born, you have sex, you die."
"The events of two summers, the conversations and stories of seven women, the history of a family and their broken and cruel love is remembered, recounted and re-lived by The Mai´s eldest daughter who fuses past and present, history and lore, into a story as intimate, unique, disturbing, affectionate and recognisable as all family stories." (Jocelyn Clarke)
For more information about Marina Carr and The Mai see:

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