Article Title

Resisting Neoliberalism and Patriarchy: Marina Carr's On Raftery's Hill and Lola Arias's La escuálida familia


Noelia Diaz


If we look at a possibly speculative dystopic world in which all that remains is a single family invested in self-destruction through violence and incest, can we see a critique of the patriarchal narratives that have perpetuated discrimination and abuse in turn of the current century society? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe what we’ve got is just a story of one dysfunctional family at the end of time. But take two such contemporaneous plays from the dawn of the millennium which each recreate that same horrifying premise, one from Ireland, one from Argentina, and the viability of such a premise deepens. Both plays are largely preoccupied with how to create communities that are moral and satisfying to all their members. Thus, in spite of an exhibited postmodern aesthetic, both writers seem to be operating from a deep ethical concern, reflecting on the conditions which might lead to the bleak scenarios portrayed in La escuálida familia and On Raftery’s Hill. In the face of drastic social and change taking place in Argentina and Ireland at the time of these plays’ staging, Arias and Carr seem to seek a path toward re/consideration and resistance, and to examine how patriarchal social structures contribute to the disenfranchising of many. Carr’s and Arias’ plays offer, in due concordance with postmodern aesthetics, not solutions but rather openings from which to rethink the failures of their respective nation-states: the failure to provide fundamental human rights (the right to safety, work, adequate food, health, housing provisions) to many.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.