Out of the Margins

15 SEPTEMBER 2023 - 06 OCTOBER 2023
15 Heroines 3. Headshot 1. Cover 2. Annotations
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21. Stella Duffy

Dido: The Choice (from 15 Heroines)

Dido: The Choice 
Signed and annotated 
First edition paperback 
19.8 x 12.9 cm 
London: Nick Hern Books, 2020

ESTIMATE


£1,000 - 10,000

This auction has now ended

Out of the Margins (21/55)

Notes


Stella Duffy said, of her Ovid play: "The Dido I'm writing, is not 'Dido-and'. She is not a woman identified merely by her love affair. She is a traveller, a refugee, a survivor. She is the woman who founded a great city and made her own choices about her life. She is about choice and taking responsibility for her choices. The gods may have set the wheels in motion, but she takes her control. Writing about mythological characters is how we understand ourselves - fairy tales, movies, video games, love songs, theatre - they're all just ways to understand ourselves, our passions, our desire and our faults. The myths are stories at heart, just stories, and story is how humans communicate." 

This is the only anthology of plays taking part in our auction, and though Stella Duffy’s play is 10 pages out of a 150-page book, this is still an extensively and generously annotated edition, with pencil markings made by the playwright throughout the introduction and the play itself. 

You really feel like you're in conversation with Stella. It's almost as if every line - practically every word - gets an annotation: "I saw this as an actor's gesture", "again reps with slightly different meaning", "I love these internal rhymes", "theatre nod to start". 

"It was refuge / she was a refugee / the word refugee MATTERS" is one of the many notes where you feel fully engaged with the playwright in the act of annotation - is she standing right next to you, pointing at the words she loves so much and laboured over so carefully? The final annotation sums up the playwright's frank and determined voice throughout: "Neither ending - madwoman or suicide - is ideal, but women have been told we are mad for so damn long. Mad simply by virtue of our woman-ness. Fuck that." 

Other playwrights in the anthology include Hannah Khalil, Bryony Lavery and Sabrina Mahfouz, all of whom have contributed annotated editions to Out of the Margins.

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