Rachel Sugar ’08 creates original production based on the lives of Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and Assia Wevill

The Department of Theater presents Mad Girl’s Love Song, Thursday through Saturday, October 4th through 6th at 8 pm in the Frear Ensemble Theater, Lang Performing Arts Center. Conceived, written and performed by Senior Honors Theater student Rachel Sugar ’08 and directed by Kym Moore, Love Song asks: what happens when the boundary between life and art dissolves?

“Dying is an art/ Like everything else,” wrote poet Sylvia Plath. Using the art they made from their lives and the lives they drew from their art, Mad Girl’s Love Song takes us to the house where Plath, her husband Ted Hughes, and his mistress Assia Wevill became inexorably tangled together. As the three grow haunted by the ghosts of each other and their pasts, Love Song asks what it means to be a woman and an artist.

In the summer of 2007, Kym and Rachel began collaborating on what has become Love Song. In a biography of Plath, they found the phrase that sparked the work: “[Assia] was so beautiful, and kept on talking about Sylvia, and I thought that she has serious identity problems, and is breaking down…she had no chance, she was doomed from the start. Professionally I would say she had a counter-phobic reaction, and wanted to demonstrate that she was not afraid of Sylvia’s demon. For her own good, she would have been much better off not to sleep in Sylvia’s bed.” Armed with a vision for a piece that grappled with the two women’s quests for identity and authorship, Kym and Rachel began to generate material using Anne Bogart’s Viewpoints and the writings of Plath, Hughes, Wevill, and their biographers. In its current incarnation, the script of Love Song is a collage of original and found texts, shaped into a single story.