01 October 2012

Sylvia Plath's Three Women on Melbourne Stage

Sylvia Plath's "Three Women" will be performed on stage in Melbourne, Australia from 9 to 14 October 2012.

I am a great event.

I am dying as I sit. I lose a dimension.

I undo her fingers like bandages: I go.

"Highly intricate and with an uncompromising, confessional style, Sylvia Plath's "Three Women" is a decidedly multifaceted poem based on three very distinct experiences of pregnancy: becoming a first-time mother, trying to survive yet another loss of a child and the difficult choices of giving a child up for adoption.

"With special permission by the Estate of Sylvia Plath and Faber and Faber Ltd, Caged Birds Productions brings to stage Plath's only script, written one year before her untimely demise, whose delicately layered voices question existence, the ache of belonging and delve into shrouded emotional experiences of childbirth."

Below is information you need to know from the official media release!

Acclaimed poet Sylvia Plath, in her only script, delicately interweaves three uncompromisingly honest experiences of childbirth, miscarriage and adoption, expressing thoughts on pregnancy which, 50 years since written, remain universal yet rarely spoken. Marking the first time her estate and publishers have granted rights for an Australian performance, Caged Birds Productions presents Plath's "Three Women" at The Owl and the Pussycat, Richmond, during this year's Melbourne Fringe.

A 'poem for three voices' written as a radio drama in 1962, "Three Women" entwines three emotionally-driven monologues describing distinct experiences of pregnancy. The First Woman is an excited yet distressed first- time mother. The Second Woman experiences yet another late-term loss of child. The Third Woman is a young college student resolved to give her baby up for adoption. Each encapsulates the 'exquisite, heartbreaking quality' that novelist Joyce Carol Oates says 'has made Sylvia Plath our acknowledged Queen of Sorrows, the spokeswoman for our most private, most helpless nightmares.'

"Three Women" echoes Plath's own experiences of pregnancy: the birth of a daughter then son in 1960 and 1962 and a miscarriage in 1961. Within 6 months of "Three Women" being broadcast on BBC Radio in 1962, Plath committed suicide aged 30, with gas from the oven in her London home, her children left with milk and sealed off in an adjoining room.

Despite being Plath's only script, with each character capturing Plath’s confessional and highly empathetic voice; "Three Women" remains a little-known work. Since first staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London in 1973, "Three Women" has been performed only several times in the UK and US. On discovering the script, director Melanie Thomas immediately felt it resonated with her personal experiences of pregnancy and vocalised thoughts that, though many share them, are often left shrouded and left undiscussed. Determined to therefore bring "Three Women" to stage, this is the first known authorised production of the work in Australia.

"Three Women" (c) Estate of Sylvia Plath and reprinted by permission of Faber and Faber Ltd.

Dates: 9 - 14 October
Times: 8.30pm; Saturday 13 October 12.30pm and 8.30pm (50min)
Venue: The Owl and the Pussycat, 34 Swan St Richmond VIC 3121
Tickets: Full $20 / Concession $18
Bookings: Online at melbournefringe.com.au or call 03 9660 9666

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Written by Sylvia Plath
Director Melanie Thomas
Producer Jessica Morris Payne
Presented by Caged Birds Productions

First Woman Gabrielle Savrone
Second Woman Narda Shanley
Third Woman Carly Grayson


Melanie Smith said...

Going on the 13th Hurrah!

Julia Gordon-Bramer said...

I am SO jealous, Melanie!

Melanie Smith said...

Oh but you are Symposiuming... Sigh.

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Publications & Acknowledgements

  • BBC Four.A Poet's Guide to Britain: Sylvia Plath. London: BBC Four, 2009. (Acknowledged in)
  • Biography: Sylvia Plath. New York: A & E Television Networks, 2005. (Photographs used)
  • Connell, Elaine. Sylvia Plath: Killing the angel in the house. 2d ed. Hebden Bridge: Pennine Pens, 1998. (Acknowledged in)
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 3." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 119-138.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 4: Looking for New England." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012: 11-56.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 5: Reanimating the Past." Plath Profiles 6. Summer 2013: 27-62.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives, Redux." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 232-246.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives." Plath Profiles 2. Summer 2009: 183-208.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath. Oxford: Fonthill, 2017.
  • Death Be Not Proud: The Graves of Poets. New York: Poets.org. (Photographs used)
  • Doel, Irralie, Lena Friesen and Peter K. Steinberg. "An Unacknowledged Publication by Sylvia Plath." Notes & Queries 56:3. September 2009: 428-430.
  • Elements of Literature, Third Course. Austin, Tex. : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2009. (Photograph used)
  • Gill, Jo. "Sylvia Plath in the South West." University of Exeter Centre for South West Writing, 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Helle, Anita Plath. The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007. (Photographs used, acknowledged in)
  • Helle, Anita. "Lessons from the Archive: Sylvia Plath and the Politics of Memory". Feminist Studies 31:3. Fall 2005: 631-652.. (Acknowledged in)
  • Holden, Constance. "Sad Poets' Society." Science Magazine. 27 July 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women, Motion Picture. Directed by Rachel Talbot. Brookline (Mass.): Jewish Women's Archive, 2007. (Photograph used)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Karen V. Kukil. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962. New York: Anchor Books, 2000. (Acknowledged in)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil (eds.). The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 1, 1940-1956. London: Faber, 2017. Forthcoming.
  • Plath, Sylvia. Glassklokken. Oslo: De norske Bokklubbene, 2004. (Photograph used on cover)
  • Reiff, Raychel Haugrud. Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar and Poems (Writers and Their Works). Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, 2008.. (Images provided)
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'A Fetish: Somehow': A Sylvia Plath Bookmark." Court Green 13. 2017.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'I Should Be Loving This': Sylvia Plath's 'The Perfect Place' and The Bell Jar." Plath Profiles 1. Summer 2008: 253-262.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'They Had to Call and Call': The Search for Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 106-132.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "A Perfectly Beautiful Time: Sylvia Plath at Camp Helen Storrow." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 149-166.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Proof of Plath." Fine Books & Collections 9:2. Spring 2011: 11-12.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Sylvia Plath." The Spoken Word: Sylvia Plath. London: British Library, 2010.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Textual Variations in The Bell Jar Publications." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "The Persistence of Plath." Fine Books & Collections. Autumn 2017: 24-29
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "This is a Celebration: A Festschrift for The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3 Supplement. Fall 2010: 3-14.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Writing Life" [Introduction]. Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning. Stroud, Eng.: Fonthill Media, 2014.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. Sylvia Plath (Great Writers). Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.