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Wollstonecraft Live!

Wollstonecraft Live!

By Kaethe Fine



A written introduction by the academic and theatre director Anna Birch tells of the 10 year campaign to raise funds for and erect a statue on Newington Green in London in honour of the 'Mother' of feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft. The unveiling of the statue caused considerable public controversy with some viewers attempting to cover it up. The naked statue designed by artist Maggi Hambling upset many feminists who claimed that it undermined the works of Wollstonecraft and her belief in the equality of women while others praised the concept for honouring the spirit of womanhood rather than putting a representational artwork of Wollstonecraft on a plinth. Kaethe Fine's play 'Wollstonecraft Live!' was performed on Newington Green in aid of the fundraising campaign for the statue. The playtext depicts a staged film shoot which centers on a love story between the 18th century radical, Mary Wollstonecraft, and a 21st century actor cast as William Godwin who was Mary's lover for the last 5 years of her life. It includes eight characters: three Mary Wollstonecrafts, (the actor Cast as) Godwin, a Boom Operator, the Sound Mixer, the assistant Director, and the Casting Director interact with each other as they attempt to represent the story of Mary's life in a bio-pic. As they all rehearse a critical tracking shot for the film, power shifts from the absent Director, to the three Marys who have primarily functioned as production assistants. On set, the actor Cast as Godwin rehearses his lines, comprised of fragments from 'Memoirs of the author of a Vindication of the Rights of Woman', William Godwin's real biography of Mary written after she died giving birth to their daughter, Mary Shelley. The relationships in Mary's life, all tragically cut short by circumstance are exposed through real letters and contemporary dialogue, creating a fragmented narration of the time in which she lived, loved and died.

ISBN: 9781912430611


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