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Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Scarecrow

" The Scarecrow -- a tragedy of the ludicrous" by Percy Mackaye.

Thanks to Wikipedia, I discovered that Percy Mackaye, who I had never heard of before this book, is considered the first poet of the Atomic Era. I wish someone would stage this play and let me know. It's truly brilliant theatre, at least on the page, with an early modern ironic lift of the eyebrow and wink at the audience, while taking you along a roller coaster ride of witchcraft and rural intrigue. I love this play!

He's now on my "must read further" list.

It's the story of a scarecrow brought to life by a witch and the devil, in New England. There's a magic mirror, stagey appearances and disappearances, a musical trick that I'm sure Mackaye never heard realized to the extent that it could be now. There are crows and ballads and love lost and found, and death and redemption. I'm not sure what Mackaye did to fall out of favor. (Maybe he didn't. Maybe I totally missed this guy and everyone else is hip to him.) Anyway, the playwright who wrote this was at the height of his power.

Granted, I used the scarecrow motif in my River Tales series. And I am a sucker for any and pretty much all scarecrow stories, almost to the degree that bear stories fascinate me. But this play is really special in the scarecrow genre.

Plays read so far from "Chief Contemporary Dramtists" (Cambridge, Mass 1915):

"The Rising of the Moon"
by Lady Gregory

"Lady Windemere's Fan"
by Oscar Wilde

"The Hourglass"
by William Butler Yeats

"Riders to the Sea"
J. M. Synge

" The Scarecrow -- a tragedy of the ludicrous"
by Percy Mackaye.

-- Uke Jackson

1 comment:

  1. I slept on it. Then today I emailed the artistic director of a local playhouse, asking her to read this play with the idea of me directing it for them. More when/if I get an answer.