This page is archival only. The Yellow Wallpaper took its final bow on October 3, 2015, at Mount Laurel Library, New Jersey. With thanks to my enthusiastic audiences, who gave me the opportunity to inhabit Gilman's indomitably imaginative heroine for so many years. MLR
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The definitive stage adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s singular classic: “The Yellow Wall-Paper.”
In 1885, marriage, a well-meaning husband, and a questionable “cure” brought Gilman to her knees. Relying on blind faith, instinct, and courage, this once-vibrant young woman willed herself back to health. Perhaps vital to her recovery was writing her brilliant “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” a short story published in 1891. Transforming autobiography into fiction, she penned [pronounced editor William Dean Howells] a story “to freeze our young blood.”
Gilman’s tale continues to chill readers today, dazzling feminists and historians, mystery- and horror-story enthusiasts alike, with its wit, suspense, and superlative style.
This faithful dramatization, directed by Warren Kliewer, is fully staged and performed in period costume. Atmospheric lighting and Victorian music evoke the period and conjure up the ever-changing yellow wallpaper.
The production is most effective in a small theatre with a sound system and versatile lighting. ALSO AVAILABLE: Two more-simply staged and less-expensive versions:
* Fully staged and costumed, but without theatrical lighting and sound
* Concert version
The Yellow Wallpaper runs one hour, plus an optional post-performance talk back.
Color photos by Neil Bacon for The Jersey Journal ; black & white by Kathy Saxe
The Yellow Wallpaper is especially popular with college and university Women’s/Gender Studies programs. It is recommended, as well, for high school students. The extraordinary story and performance stimulate discussions about imagination vs. science, the place of women in society and marriage, and more. A study guide can be provided.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-paper” was published in 1891 in New England Magazine. Originally produced by The East Lynne Company, to date, Warren Kliewer’s dramatization of The Yellow Wallpaper has played more than 70 performances in 13 states, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
Past sponsors include the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery, the Fourth International Conference of the Charlotte Perkins Gilman Society, New York City’s Harold Clurman Theatre, and universities from Massachusetts to Minnesota to Midland, Texas—where Michèle’s performance was called “as close to perfect as possible.”