Ropetackle Arts Centre just down the coast from vibrant Brighton presented the astonishingly insightful play about the Surealist, model, war photographer, artist and mother Lee Miller this Sunday afternoon. I was lucky enough to be in the audience!
The play, written by her son Antony Penrose and performed by him and his daughter Ami Bouhassane, was so enthralling I was totally engrossed for the duration. Which delves into the life and thoughts of the stunning Miller from early childhood until her death. Unashamedly exposing her flaws and her triumphs along side nude photographs with equal parts respect and awe. Performed entirely through a combination of speaking and photographic images from the Farley Farm House archives the play is an homage to both Lee Miller and Surrealism.
Here was a woman totally liberated from the behavioral binds of her time and yet stifled by the love she ignited in the men in her life. Lover and artistic collaborator of the artist Man Ray she discovered the photographic process of 'solarisation' for which he is often credited. Partner of Roland Penrose the artist and art historian, their family home in East Sussex has become a mecca for lovers of Surrealist art. War photographer and writer she suffered from what would now be called PTSD as a result of all the horrors she witness during the war. A truly incredible, powerful and yet fragile being, capable of both great courage and weakness. Her story is not much know but should be taught to young women in search of a road less traveled. An inspirational play written with a raw honesty and wit and performed by a cast of wonderful voice actors including Lee Millers' family.
Having had the pleasure of working along both Amie and Antony in my teaching days it was a real treat to see them again and shake the hand of Antony Penrose, the Boy (turned man) who bit Picasso. Don't miss out on it, this play is a revelation!