Bonnets: How Ladies of Good Breeding are Induced to Murder
by Jen Silverman
2020 - Purdue University Workshop Production
An Abbreviated bit of Dramaturgy by Sam Smith
Bonnets: (How Ladies of Good Breeding Are Induced to Murder) is an unconventional tale of love that transcends, strains, and rips the fabric of time and space. It is a play where amateur poisoners and sad maids can lament their woes of love. It is a play where the characters don’t as much say “I love you”, but instead say “You look healthy”. It is vulnerable and strange and wonderful (and a little bit punk rock), just as love itself is. At the center of this play are three acts of violence that happen in much different times and places, yet they are all linked together by one common factor: Love. Each act is motivated by the influence of love but also a rising understanding from our heroines that they have agency to fight for that love and for who they truly are as self-assure women.
While this expression of agency is at the heart of each of the Bonnets, less could be said of the play’s narrator: God. She finds herself the viewer of everything that occurs in this play, introducing us to each scene, no matter how boring she finds it. God loves logic and seems to be obsessed with data and the relationship between the logical and illogical. When her concept of data, how things have been for hundreds of thousands of years has been disrupted by the events unfolding beyond her control, it’s a hit to her beliefs and even her power. Everything she’s believed in, everything she’s loved is being disrupted and she’s falling into a pit of despair. We may see her love of logic and reason, but in the end, God shows her vulnerability and we see that in a moment of pure humanity, maybe God needs help loving herself sometimes too. Maybe we all do.