The Verge by Susan Glaspell (Trifles) was first produced by the Provincetown Players in the 1920s. While this non-realism play begins comedically, Glaspell quickly reveals the darker themes at work in early 20th-century society. The Verge follows botanist Claire Archer as she experiments with strange plants in pursuit of creating a new form of life. This mirrors her own need to navigate existence in a changing world, recently devastated by war and altered by women’s suffrage. Her struggle to transcend nature is complicated by her strained relationships with her family and friends, who discourage the experiments. Claire’s husband Harry is concerned that her passion for botanical experiments and her erratic behavior are troubling symptoms that Claire is descending into madness. Tensions rise and reach a tipping point when Claire’s most promising creation the Breath of Life nears its bloom.
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