New York | 2h 15m | Already closed

Woman and Scarecrow

From 14 critic and 39 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Slow

About the show

In Irish Rep's New York premiere, a woman revisits her life with biting humor and brutal honesty. A fierce, passionate, and moving lament for a life half-lived. More…

Woman is dying. Mother to eight children and wife to an unfaithful husband, she is living her final hours with Scarecrow, her alter ego – her closest confidante and greatest critic – as death noisily interrupts from the sidelines.  

Front Row Center

“Exquisite, sublime, smart, and damn funny. Woman, played by the incomparable Haberle, and Scarecrow by the brilliantly talented and funny Gray, are pugilists with their words, sparing off and punching out. This is one hell of a good play with an ensemble that takes your breath away, makes you think, and touches your heart...An event to be witnessed...Take a friend so that you can...discuss what you have experienced and what it all means to that thing you call your life.” Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"Carr’s new play explores the tenuous boundaries between life and death: the extraordinary work redefines those boundaries and exposes their weaknesses...The playwright raises rich and enduring questions left for the audience to grapple with...O’Reilly directs with his keen eye for subtlety and with his steady hand of encouragement. He teases from the exceptional cast the nuances of each character." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"Probably morbid by dictionary definition, it’s also riveting; rife with poignancy, frustration, ego, anger, defiance, awareness, love, and emotional pain we rarely see in lives portrayed mid-journey. The play is startling and imaginative...Language is rich, character and situation beautifully detailed...This is a helluva ride. A powerful, conceivably polarizing piece wonderfully realized. Not to be missed." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"Fiercely candid, surprisingly funny, and devastatingly poignant...It’s a compelling contemporary update of the age-old theme of 'memento mori,' delivered by a top-notch cast, with a timeless reminder for all of us that the time to be happy is now...Offers an impressive company debut of Carr’s gripping work and a stirring message about living life to the fullest while you still can. With such an auspicious beginning, we can all hope to see more of Carr in Irish Rep’s upcoming seasons." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"O’Reilly has delivered a top-drawer production, coaxing the best out of a difficult play, with a roster of remarkable actors who have plunged into their roles head-on with fierce commitment and splendid, award-worthy performances across the board...Carr is, if nothing else, immensely literate and observant of the human condition. At the same time, much of the philosophizing is banal, only elevated to soaring heights by Carr’s skill as a playwright and wordsmith." Full Review

Off Off Online

"With skillful direction by Ciarán O’Reilly, this production delves into the innermost feelings of a woman who is learning about the meaning of life at the last possible moment...Gray does a stellar job of going through the motions with Woman. Scarecrow captures the duality of a lifetime confidant and blunt friend...Carr’s grim script offers little humor...'Woman and Scarecrow' encourages audiences to think about life and the importance of one’s choices." Full Review


"An up-close and personal look at a deeply-flawed woman in her final hours of life...The play does have its share of black humor and high spirits. Woman, in fact, has more vim and vigor than your typical person in the pink of health...An ambitious play. It is brimming with references to popular culture, literature, and mythology...That said, it doesn't totally succeed as a drama. But it surely will remind you that nobody escapes death." Full Review


"Unfortunately, O'Reilly's heavy reliance on the production team is also indicative of a significant problem: the play is repetitive. Despite finding new, and often lovely, poetic ways to convey the centrality of death to life, Carr's thoughts and arguments quickly begin to sound like the same melody over and over again, just in a different key. O'Reilly tries to distract us from this fault by giving the Gottlieb-Rumery-Corcoran trio creative free rein." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"Tries, with limited success, to inject mystical folkloric fantasy into a contemporary story of marital infidelity…Stretched out over two acts, these fantastical elements...become as tiresome as Woman's persistent ranting. No sooner does she quiet down…than something presses the wrong button and her peeves are off and running. This isn't to deny that there are, indeed, some powerful scenes…Each member of the impressive cast is well-equipped to handle Carr's language." Full Review

The New York Times

“A blistering beauty of a play that rages with regret and pitch-black humor...A poetic drama with a peculiar, tricky shape...The production can’t find its tone...Straining for laughs, it undermines the humanity that Carr’s comedy needs to stand on...It piles on obtrusive design elements that overwhelm the intimate space...Haberle’s performance never feels convincingly like a deathbed...Gut-punch insights don’t get much space to land in this impatient, unbalanced production." Full Review

Epoch Times

"Carr is an elegant writer who turns out some mordantly funny lines here and there...However, the play seems rather lifeless. O’Reilly’s staging attempts to inject some energy...but the verbose and overlong text provides few opportunities for action...The only part that moved me was the ending monologue...The work might be better on the written page or in a radio broadcast...As expected at Irish Rep, the acting is on a high level." Full Review


"Directed with the right amount of etherealness...The play itself is nonlinear, and O'Reilly's physical production gives off a similar vibe...Only Haberle's performance feels tonally out of sync, pulsing with energy that feels too excessive...This vitality is strangely jarring, and throws off the momentum of the piece as a whole...Bogged down by symbolism, overly poetic, and circular in its arguments, this is a relentlessly depressing play in desperate need of both an editor and some levity." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Death is rarely easy or pleasant, and neither is Marina Carr's chamber play about the process of dying and what that might reveal about how we should live...The performances are committed, and the design is wonderfully eerie...But even if most of the action is a morphine-fueled deathbed dream, Haberle seems too robust to be on the verge of shuffling off this mortal coil, and her desperate griping grows repetitive in director Ciarán O'Reilly's static staging." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Callous as it may seem, after a while one begins to wonder if she really will manage to shuffle off this mortal coil, so many grievances has she to share...Admittedly, for a good chunk of its running time, 'Woman and Scarecrow' coasts on its lively, rancorous exchanges...But, as it gradually sinks in that there will be no real conflict or meaningful dramatic action -- just more railing at the injustice of the universe -- a certain tedium sets in." Full Review

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Remarkable play by Marina Carr, outstanding performances from Pamela J. Gray, and Stephanie Roth Haberle, was staged with directorial

Don't see it if if you do not like irish playwrights

Also prowess by Ciarán O’Reilly in a very tight space (not an easy task). T... Read more Read less

Great writing, Great acting, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You enjoy intense dramas superbly performed

Don't see it if You're not comfortable with stories of death or performance in small spaces

Resonant, Profound, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a woman at the end of her life reflecting on her choices

Don't see it if introspection and intensity doesn't grab your attention

Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like great acting and thought provoking monologue.

Don't see it if Your afraid to think about life and death

Cliched, Intense, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you like Irish plays, seeing a playwright in her NY debut: a tragic predictable tale of a long-suffering wife & mother figuring out her role

Don't see it if don't like talky plays with two actors playing the same character, frustrating back and forth dialogue, element of the supernatural

Profound, Great acting, Funny, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy fast-fire witty cutting dialogue.

Don't see it if You are disturbed by the topic of death.

Intense, Intelligent, Edgy, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy Irish delving into the philosophy of life and death

Don't see it if you don't like lots of philosophical dialogue in a very small theater.

Intelligent, Edgy, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if Insightful exploration of the mind of a dying woman and her alter ego keeps an otherwise immobile performance alive until it explodes at end

Don't see it if You get itchy and impatient as one's character slowly develops in front of you: be patient.

Relevant, Intense, Slow, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if Carr's feminist fever dream of a life unfufilled; Irish black humor mixed with Chekhovian regret Strong potent writing at times strident

Don't see it if Staging engulfs black box space Haberle captures angry regret yet comes off too vital/heathy at times; Soules nails stoic Irish Catholicism

Intense, Creepy (somewhat), Quirky, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if Irish theater that explores the line between self and the world, who we are and who we present ourselves to be.

Don't see it if Dark themes and intensity.

Confusing, Slow, Thought-provoking, Intense, Intelligent

See it if You appreciate fine acting in an intimate setting.

Don't see it if You like fast paced exciting or amusing theatre. Somewhat obtuse but well acted.

Great acting, Slow, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if you're up for a meditation on dying.

Don't see it if you'd rather walk down the sunny side of the street.

Also Pretty much everything produced by the Irish Rep has quality and subst... Read more Read less

Cliched, Plodding, Excruciating, Overlong

See it if you want an introduction to Marina Carr, one of Ireland's leading playwrights.

Don't see it if you want a fast-moving drama. This could have been effective as a one-acter. It is way too long. Haberle Roth strikes the wrong note.

Slow, Excruciating, Disappointing, Confusing, Banal

See it if you enjoy being tortured, really TORTURED!

Don't see it if you have you have ANYTHING better to do other than being tortured for tour and a half hours.

Also Play was AWFUL on many levels!!! It was badly written, badly staged an... Read more Read less

Great staging, Unique, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if you like great writing and immersing yourself in a completely different world that tackles tough themes and stories head on.

Don't see it if you don't like dark, morbid stories that hold up a mirror to the most difficult aspects of humankind

A well acted play dealing with death very well acted

See it if you like a good drama dealing with death

Don't see it if if you have issues with dealing with death

Intense, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Resonant, Riveting

See it if you want to experience one of the best performances by a lead actor. Phenomenal! Brilliant! Captivating! Thought provoking!

Don't see it if you are not ready to face some of the conversations of truth that one encounters when facing death's door.

During previews
Profound, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like beautiful lyric writing with an edge that will tear your guts out. I have wanted to see the work of Marina Carr for years.

Don't see it if if you are unwilling to be swept up in the rich tragic landscape of this haunting playwrights world

During previews
Intelligent, Edgy, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Superb acting by entire cast. Great directing. Touchy topic. Intimate space What more does one need?

Don't see it if It is not fun in a fun sense. It is sensitive.. Not for those who need an uplift dancing eve.

During previews
Brilliant, Profound, Complex, Intense, Great acting

See it if you are want to see a brilliantly acted & written metaphysical, complicated, allegory/reality play about the desires & regrets of the dying

Don't see it if you have no familiarity with the themes of great Irish literature ( Joyce, Yeats); want happy, light entertainment; are claustrophobic

Also I was totally blown away by this play and puzzled by the initial low s... Read more Read less

During previews
Profound, Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting, Sobering

See it if pondering the inevitability of your own demise is not overly discomfiting, and if you appreciate drama that cuts to the bone--surgically.

Don't see it if you don't want to think about shuffling off your mortal coil, or if death is a difficult subject for you to sit through for two hours.

Also My hat is off yet again to the Irish Rep for bringing this important w... Read more Read less

During previews
Slow, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if Very intense, makes you think a lot as you watch it and even after you watch it

Don't see it if If you're feeling a little down it might not be the best play for you but it might be a good play to see because you might appreciate life.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Clever

See it if You like dramatic observations about life's absurdities and its final event —death. It's superbly acted, has some humor and needs editing

Don't see it if You hate thinking about living or dying well. These are the rough themes.

During previews
Intense, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you think about issues of identity and what is really important at the end. Particularly for women who are taught to conform to expectations

Don't see it if you don't like thinking about your mortality and think women who rebel are just hysterics.

During previews
Slow, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like small intimate plays no matter the subject matter. Like views on what dying may be like and what you may regret from the past.

Don't see it if you don't want 2 hours watching a woman die and the inner struggles she has with what has now become regret.

Cast & Creatives (11)