Everyone Calls Her Grace Restricted; Files Only

Wagner, Ozzy (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/rv042v38g?locale=en


The Sea Queen of Connacht seemed to be full of ‘contradictions’, working at times for the crown and at times for her people, a murderer and a revolutionary, a woman in a ‘man’s role’. Whether or not we are able to excavate a full truth or personhood from the history the English wrote of her remains to be seen, but there is certainly a truth to her multiplicity; her fraught construction of morality and legacy; her complicity; her relationship to gender; the reasons we want to be her (or, perhaps, already are).

Most of all, there is a truth to be found in her construction of self, like our constructions of self, between history, myth, and the other stories we tell ourselves about being human. Not even Grace O’Malley could have been Grace O’Malley—her history has already been colonized, sanitized, and mythicized; but maybe we can find some kind of truth, playing pirates by her grave.

This play has gone through many iterations as my relationship to Grainne/Grace as a story, a figure of history, and an example of a specific relationship to femininity, have changed; and as my perspective on the theater industry, narrative structures, and history have changed. These relationships have crystallized, in part, into characters who voice the complications with finding yourself and others in story, as well as refusal of a cartographic understanding of narrative of all sorts.

Everyone Calls Her Grace, while surely perpetually unfinished, is as of now a culmination of my various discoveries on the intersections of gender, race, power, performance, and representation; and how decolonizing/queer-ing/subverting historical, hierarchical, and fictional narrative structures (or, going to the sea) may act as a gateway to intersectional and personal truths. 

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