Left – Anna Kennedy and Marissa O'Reilly. Cover – Marissa O'Reilly. Photos – Tommy Holt
Imagine Shakespeare had a sister who possessed in equal measure his wit and intellect. She too wanted to be a playwright in Elizabethan London. Unlike her brother however, there was to be no great success but an early death and an anonymous grave.
This hypothetical story was constructed by English writer Virginia Woolf as part of her 1928 lecture series, Women and Fiction. Just why would a sister of Shakespeare have come to such a bitter and miserable end? Quite simply, she was a woman. Societal conventions of her time, no means or space of her own equalled no freedom to create.
An inaugural piece by Sentient Theatre, this stage adaptation (Peta Hanrahan, who is also director) of Woolf's essay A Room of One's Own, has performers give voice to Woolf's startling hypothesis.
Four actors (Anna Kennedy, Anthea Davis, Marissa O'Reilly and Jackson Trickett) bring to life Woolf's sparkling, incisive prose. Four corners create a cohesive whole. A simple set and lighting, the intimate space that is fortyfivedownstairs allows the audience instant engagement with her thoughts and ideas.
Peta Hanrahan says of Woolf, "she uses logic, clear non fictional reason to unveil the profound inconsistencies, inequities and disproportionate imbalance between masculine life and the female one."
In our time of post feminist disappointment and the rise of the #MeToo movement, Woolf's words, ideas and observations still resonate loudly.
Sentient Theatre presents
A Room of One's Own
by Virginia Woolf | adaptation Peta Hanrahan
Director Peta Hanrahan
Venue: fortyfivedownstairs | 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC
Dates: 17 – 28 July 2019
Tickets: $30 – $43