Ariadne’s Understudies revolves around three characters, Bess, Lydia and Elsie, who are haunted by identifications and myths that enable and disable them in turn. These identifications include Katerina Kepler (mother of astronomer Johannes Kepler); the second Mrs de Winter (from the du Maurier novel, Rebecca); the mythological heroine Ariadne, and Elsie’s husband’s first wife Miriam (now dead). When the three women finally connect through Miriam’s image, the forces released are momentous. Will they rise up and act in their own names, or will they remain Ariadne’s understudies?

'An exciting and provocative fusion of broad themes and domestic detail, of humour and sadness, of myth and reality, of wild flights of fantasy and household inventories...' Noelle Janaczewska, director of 1991 PICA production of 'Ariadne's Understudies'

'Dense and extremely challenging, with its word play, its poetic motioning towards history and personal memory, and the interconnections between stories. But all this seriousness is not to devalue its humour, which underpins the whole venture.' Terri-Ann White, Fremantle Arts Review, 1991

'Fans of Marion Campbell's writing will be looking for a transposition to the stage of her richly poetic and intelligent work. They will not be disappointed with this offering... Much of it is bleak, all of it is intriguing. It deals with things that slip away: sons, identity, aspirations, men, freedom ... it's about the power of the imagination, both destructive and creative... Some of the most interesting theatre that has been seen in Perth this year.' Chris McLeod, The West Australian, 8 Nov 1991

  • expressionist theatre
  • 95
  • 3 total
  • 3 female identifying
  • adolescence
  • 16 to 18, 18+
  • young adult, adult
  • Australian Script Centre


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