The Cordelia Dream

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‘I was the most beautiful thing in your life . . . And you didn’t know it.’

An old man, his life coming to a close, declares: Men should not have daughters. A woman, refusing to deal with his ghost, makes her ‘dark pilgrimage’ to his door. There they argue the language of love and loss and reply the battle between them, the ‘ancient eternal’ blood bond of parent and child.

With its resonance of King Lear Marina Carr’s tense, impassioned drama uncoils a torrent of confessions, accusations, contritions and blame, as her garrulous protagonists compete, if not for the grail of reconciliation, for the consolation of understanding. The Cordelia Dream, a Royal Shakespeare Company commission, lays out another urgent installment of this unflinching playwright’s exploration of families, their needs, their shortcomings and of the darkness in the human heart.

‘Mothers and sons are plentiful in Irish storytelling; we see less of fathers and daughters. This excoriating portrait of a poisonously jealous father-daughter relationship is the ultimate in anti-sentimental.
Parental love is usually a social norm and expectation, but that is sometimes a big lie. Here the father, a composer, has had his career overshadowed by his successful daughter. He considers her less talented than he, but far luckier. Estranged, she comes to visit his lonely abode following a dream about Cordelia, the youngest daughter from Shakespeare’s King Lear. She comes in an attempt to salvage something of their relationship. But he is trapped in a narcissistic plume and there is not much hope of connection.’ — Katy Hayes, Irish Independent

Year Published: 2008
Details: 48pp
ISBN PBK: 978 1 85235 455 8
ISBN HBK: 978 1 85235 456 5