“John laughs at me, but one expects that in a marriage.” This blasé comment comes early in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s unnerving yet hilarious short story. The accepted banality of it is revealing. This unnamed narrator’s husband is a physician and has kept her isolated in a rural mansion for a “rest cure.” A woman of the late nineteenth century suffering depression, without any apparent bodily concerns and mental illness not yet properly identified, she is dismissed as hysterically nervous and removed from social interaction and work. While her grip on reality falters, she latches onto a deeper unspoken truth of her situation.
Bygone Theatre’s theatrical adaptation of this fanciful and compelling feminist tract, The Yellow Wallpaper, is an immersive, multi-media experience presented at the historic Campbell House. The small audience is invited to wander the space, venture up and down stairs and into various rooms. As The Woman (Kate McArthur) talks to herself and us, we are able to adjust our vantage point. Continue Reading