white wines

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


  • Composer: Dorothy Chang
  • Scenario: Adam Frank
  • Musical Director: Marguerite Witvoet
  • Sound Engineer: Don Harder
  • Kristin Hoff as Harriet
  • Camille Hesketh as Jane
  • Mia Harris as Sylvia
  • Jenny Andersen as Therese
  • Katie Rife on percussion
  • This recording was made possible by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (File 435-2013-1684).
    Manuscript images courtesy of the Beinecke Library, Yale University.

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