Have you ever been so bored and so lonely that you stared at wallpaper until you saw the print move and people appear within it? Just ask Jane.
Stormi Bledsoe, a senior BFA Acting major at Northern Kentucky University, created a play adaptation of the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” originally written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The play attempts to open the public’s eyes to the lack of knowledge in regard to women’s mental health issues.
The play will take place on April 1 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at The Avenue Stage, located at St. John United Church of Christ, 520 Fairfield Avenue, Bellevue, KY. Tickets are $10 at the door, cash only. All proceeds will go to the Women’s Crisis Center of Northern Kentucky. The doors will open 30 minutes before each showtime.
Bledsoe is the sole director, playwright and designer of the play. She wrote it during the university’s winter break and was able to cast the show as well as begin rehearsals the week before spring break, barely a month before the production date.
According to Bledsoe, her inspiration for the play came from this year’s political drama. Bledsoe also wanted to call attention to women’s health issues of today.
“Following the election, I just really thought that it was a strong woman’s voice that needed to be heard again,” Bledsoe said.
The play follows the life of a woman named Jane. Bledsoe described the character Jane as having everything she ought to have in life to be happy.
“She’s married to a doctor, she has a new baby, she has someone to take care of the housework,” Bledsoe said. “But unfortunately she is suffering from what we now know as postpartum depression.”
Jane’s husband thinks that taking her away from social situations as well as her new baby for three months. He also believes that placing her in solitude will treat her. Rather, the treatment causes Jane to go insane over the course of the summer.
“[The story] kind of got labeled as a scary ghost story for a long time until people realized we were dealing with women’s health issues, especially mental health of those women that were classically considered privileged,” Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe said that the play will have four different actresses as Jane, to give the character more dimensions. She has also added more scenes between Jane and her husband and her sister-in-law.
One of the actresses of the play, Melody Lindsey, is playing Jane #2. Lindsey is a sophomore majoring in acting at NKU. She has been acting for 6 years and has been in several NKU productions, including Once in a Lifetime, She Kills Monsters, among others. She calls the role of Jane in this play an acting challenge for herself.
“I play Jane #2, so I’m in between the state of like just figuring this out, just trying to deal with my circumstances and really being incredibly depressed and not knowing exactly how to deal with it,” Lindsey said.
Zoё Brooks-Jeffiers, who plays Jane #3, is a sophomore and double-majoring in acting and international studies. She has been acting since the sixth grade, also having made appearances in some of NKU’s shows.
“It’s really cool to play something that’s not such a simple character, and to really see the dynamics,” Brooks-Jeffiers said. “[It’s really cool] to be a part of a cast where we are all playing the same character and to get to watch the other people playing the same character and how are we going to create one overarching person.”