#34 Sylvia Plath, Your Words are Just Dust

Theatre ( New Writing, Solo show ) Greenside, Nicholson St.

Bleak, biographical one-woman play by Alice Sylvester about the life of Sylvia Plath, drawing material from her writings.

Captivating, relentless intensity from Sylvester right from the start. Clearly an homage from a fan. Segmented in five parts, in mostly chronological order from childhood and loss of dad to career aspirations and Ted and death. We are well beyond rehearsed and polished here, this is meticulous portrayal, closing in on obsessive.

A depressing play, naturally. The segments roll on at an unhurried pace, with a sense of sad danger created from practically thin air. The gloomy atmosphere is distressing and somewhat off-putting. Sylvester's note is rather monotone, which together with rather subdued stage movement, creates a very still world. Suddenly, curiously, I'm conscious of my own movements and breathing in the sparse audience.

The hour is understandably blunt and depressing, but surely there was some beauty and humour in Plath's world. This feels generously dark. A very narrow view of the world around her, as well, almost myopic. There is emotion, the anguish is evident in Sylvester's work, but I can't help wondering is this really all there is to Plath? I'm left more disturbed than moved.

For hard core literary fans, friends of the dark, and those perhaps new to the story of one of the pioneers of patriarchy-unravelling.