Luminous production captures complexity of
Virginia Woolf's words
The Age (2016)
Sydney Morning Herald (2016)
A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN BY VIRGINIA WOOLF ★★★★
Virginia Woolf's extended essay A Room of One's Own was based on lectures she gave to two women's colleges at Cambridge in 1928, on the subject of "Women in Fiction". It remains a key work of feminism – witty, supple, and conducted in a spirit of restless inquiry, anchoring emotion with intellect, infusing argument with narrative technique.
Sentient Theatre's A Room of One's Own at La Mama.
This luminous, accessible production from Peta Hanrahan captures the beauty of Woolf's
prose and the complexity of her ideas. It's refreshing – especially in an age where social media amplifies outrage – to encounter such a nuanced engagement with the way patriarchy, and the historical subjugation of women, has shaped literary and dramatic endeavour.On a traverse stage, four actors (Carolyn Bock, Marissa O'Reilly, Jackson Trickett and Anna Kennedy) deliver Woolf's contentions and fugues, her conflicting internal voices and imagined characters, through a choric quartet.
The performance dissects misogyny among the literary establishment (an impulse directed in defence of male privilege, in Woolf's view, and one not to be usefully answered by simple, unthinking anger), and muses on the way the male
imagination overvalues the figurative woman, while entrenching real women in social and economic disadvantage.One salient moment, as we celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, is Woolf's fictional creation of Shakespeare's sister Judith – whose ability may have been as great, but who dies, young and pregnant and obscure, after enduring public ridicule.
For all that, there's a hopefulness to Woolf's account of women writers from Aphra Behn to George Eliot: the author herself has become part of that literary legacy, and this stimulating production gives her potent words vivid voice.