In the summer of 1920, the writer Katherine Mansfield received a frequent visitor to her London home: Virginia Woolf. Once a week, Woolf would take the train from Richmond, disembarking at Hampstead Heath, and walk the rest of the way to Mansfield’s house at 2 Portland Villas. In Mansfield’s studio overlooking the garden, these two friends would discuss the craft of writing, sipping tea prepared down in the kitchen by Ida Baker. Though both Woolf and Mansfield noted in their diaries how much these conversations meant to them, we have no record of what they actually said to each other, and must glean what we can reading between the lines of the comments they have left. Powerful attraction, mutual identification, and sharp rivalry united them.
At summer’s end, Mansfield traveled to the continent, returning to London only very briefly before setting out on her final journey. Virginia and Katherine would not meet again. Mansfield died in France, outside Paris at the Prieurè of Fontainebleau in January 1923. In A Public of Two, I try to recreate the atmosphere, conflict, and conversation unfolding in Mansfield's studio during their last encounter.
“A Public of Two” has been adapted from a chapter of Katherine's Wish, which deals with the last five years of Mansfield’s life. The novel was a finalist for the Foreword Book of the Year in 2009, winner of a IPPY Gold Medal, and an honorable mention in the Hoffer Award. David Lynn, editor of the Kenyon Review, praised Katherine’s Wish as “a dazzling bit of fictional sorcery, conjuring to life the bright and talented swirl of modern society in the 1920s.”
This Radio Play has been produced by Rosemary Beech, founder of Yorick Radio Productions and is performed by four brilliant young actors with whom it has been a pleasure & privilege to work.
Ellisha O'Donnell in the role of Katherine Mansfield. Ellisha is a Glasgow-based actor with a history in theatre, and since graduating (with a HND in Acting & Performance) has been exploring voice acting.
Rosemary Beech in the role of Virginia Woolf. Rosemary graduated from Glasgow University with a Masters in Theatre and Performance. They are a Voice Actor and Podcast Manager with a passion for radio plays.
Alice Gold in the role of Ida Baker. Alice is a graduate of Guildford School of Acting with an MFA in Musical Theatre. She aims to continue to work across musicals, plays, and television.
Jonty O’ Callaghan in the role of John Middleton Murry. Jonty is a recent graduate of Guildford School of Acting, achieving his MFA with distinction. He says he is delighted to make his voice acting debut in ‘A Public of Two’!
It's so exciting and humbling to hear your writing come alive through voices other than your own, and I want to give heartfelt thanks to Yorick Radio Podcasts for giving me this opportunity. Yorick Radio Productions is a podcast dedicated to performance and creativity – with special segments dedicated to theatre theory, radio play performances, creative writing, and interviews with performers and writers. It is available on all major podcast platforms. You can sign up at buzzsprout
Katherine’s Wish ISBN 9781877655586 is available in paperback from amazon