The award-winning Dyad Productions (Female Gothic, I, Elizabeth, Christmas Gothic, and Austen’s Women) return with a twenty-first century take on Virginia Woolf’s celebrated pre-TED talk.
Take a wry, amusing, and incisive trip through the history of literature, feminism, and gender. Meet Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Aphra Behn, and Shakespeare’s sister – Judith! Travel to the far-flung future of… 2028. But whatever you do, Keep Off the Grass.
Rebecca Vaughan (Female Gothic,Orlando, Christmas Gothic, Dalloway, Austen’s Women, Jane Eyre: An Autobiography) performs Woolf’s 1928 exploration of the impact of poverty and sexual inequality on intellectual freedom and creativity.
‘If you haven’t seen Dyad Productions’ work before, you simply must’ British Theatre Guide
‘Some of the most electrifying character work available, up to and including Berkoff’ Fringe Review
‘Towering… luscious… assured… rich’ The Scotsman
THREE WEEKS Cumulative Body of Work Award-Winners, 2018
‘Perfection… Vaughan is simply sublime’ (Huffington Post)
In September 1929, Virginia Woolf wrote “It is a perennial puzzle why no women wrote a word of that extraordinary literature when every other man, it seemed, was capable of song or sonnet.” 83 years later, Rebecca Vaughan uses this exact concept – taken from Woolf’s essay A Room of One’s Own – to open her own theatrical performance, inspired by Woolf’s work.
To answer her own “perennial puzzle,” Woolf explains that women must have £500 and, as her essay title indicates, a room of their own, to live independently and write. Using Woolf’s very relevant but academic work, Vaughan transforms Woolf’s essay into a digestible yet still incredibly important and informative performance.
Formatted as Woolf’s own ‘TED- Talk’, Vaughan successfully emulates Woolf’s exploration of the impact of poverty and sexual inequality on intellectual freedom and creativity in her production, which she both wrote and performed.
The simple set of Woolf’s writing desk littered with books created an intimate setting in which Vaughan lectured her listeners on a trip through the history of literature, creativity and sexual politics.
In her one-act monologue time was used efficiently as Vaughan listed the successes that women can achieve when they are allowed to write. Starting from the beginning with Margaret Cavendish and Aphra Behn, we were told how flowers should fall on Behn’s grave; she gave women the space to write by proving that women could make a living through their writing.
Vaughan then described some of our familiar friends throughout literature including Becky Sharp, Anna Karenina, the Duchess of Malfi, and Lady Macbeth who are all women that certainly do not lack character. This led Vaughan to persuasively describe Woolf’s fictitious persona of Judith Shakespeare, the famous playwright William Shakespeare’s sister, to explain how women writers have been excluded from the literary canon.
Such a pertinent examination of women in literature was splendidly performed by Vaughan who commanded the stage, creating a perfect balance of passion and urgency. Intelligent and provoking, Vaughan’s solo show was definitely not one to miss.