Listening to the Silences of Kay Sage
Keywords:Kay Sage, Women of Surrealism, Silence in Theatre, Avant-Garde Theatre, Surrealism and Gender
Through close analysis of two of her Surrealist one-act plays, this essay aims to introduce readers to the under-researched written work of Kay Sage and highlight the originality of her approach to gender, theatre and silence. In two of her plays, Chateau de Chemillieu and Failure to Discover, silence is depicted as a visceral and alien presence that intrudes on the ordinary experiences of Sage’s characters. These presences are recognisable, conforming to the mythology around ghosts and spiritualism, but also unnerving in their refusal to melt away into the background. These depictions of silence as a powerful and emotive presence illustrate her belief in communicative possibilities beyond the conventional constraints of the verbal world. Furthermore, her work explores the ways in which her female characters are silenced, engaging with the complex gendered politics of the Surrealist movement.
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