Letters Home (2009)

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Poster by Mark Davies

by Rose Leiman Goldemberg

Directed by Jess Osorio

Performances: Tue 21th – Sat 25th July 2009, Prompt Corner


Sylvia Plath was already recognised as a brilliant poet at the time of her death, and despite an ongoing interest in her life and work, few biographers consulted the one person who knew her best. In 1975, her mother Aurelia therefore published a volume of the letters Sylvia wrote between her college years and her death in 1963.

Sylvia Plath exemplified a heroine for feminists, a wronged woman oppressed by patriarchy, a pathology where her work was fuelled not by her intellect but her sickness, and lastly a character synonymous with depression and self-destruction. This play allows us to discover the less well known aspects of a woman with the use of her own words, not in the guise of a poet, but that of a dutiful and loving daughter.

Aurelia was born in 1906 and was 57 years old when her daughter died. Their relationship was problematic & ambiguous as they were both very close despite Sylvia’s claims that she hated her and her demonization in much of Plath’s poetry. The letters & this play however show her to be a woman who sacrificed much for her children.

Letters Home is two plays running in parallel, one taking place in the mind of Aurelia which recounts Sylvia’s life & the efforts made to save it, while the other is set in the here & now as Aurelia, through telling her story, endeavours to reach an understanding that she is alive and her daughter is gone




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