Richard Bridgman describes the pieces that Stein wrote after Tender Buttons as “marked by a vocabulary of containers, colors, food, and light” (Gertrude Stein in Pieces, 137). This definitely characterizes White Wines, one of Stein’s earliest plays, written not long after Leo, her brother, moved out of their shared accommodations in Paris, leaving Alice Toklas in place as Gertrude’s primary partner and support.
The play is for five women and takes place in three acts. In Stein’s manuscript notebook four of these women are named: Harriet, Jane, Sylvia, and Therese. We have cast it for four singers and a percussionist who occasionally vocalizes. The play takes us through the process of finding and making a new space of (sexual, emotional, and architectural) containment for the work of composition.
The recording is 23 minutes.listen read the play
Read Dorothy Chang’s brief program notes on the music and collaborative process.
Watch an excerpt from the semi-staged theater production at the Vancouver East Cultural Center, June 4-5, 2016. Video: Tim Matheson.
Read Adam Frank’s paper “Gertrude Stein’s Parlor Play,” presented March 18, 2016 at the annual ACLA conference.
© 2023 - Radio Free Stein. All Rights Reserved.