The Wives of Hemingway

The Wives of Hemingway

Spirit of the Fringe Fringe World 2013 RTR AWARD 2013 Martin Sims 2013

“Pepper has deft control over the material, which could tumble into a “Carry On” nightmare in the wrong hands. Instead, this achingly funny show induces much compassion for its outlandish characters.”
Astrid Francis, RealTime Magazine

“This is a dark comedy with many belly laughs…This is bound to be one of the most talked about plays of the festival. Professional, crazy and a definite MUST.”
Gordon the Optometrist, Theatre Australia

“Highly enjoyable, disturbing, and tragic, The Wives of Hemingway kept its audience laughing aloud for much of the performance.”
Courtney J. Pascoe,

“…this one is undoubtedly witty, absorbing and manages to keep the audience thinking even after the cast members have taken their bows.”
Shreeja Rajan,

Ernest Hemingway loved deep sea fishing, big game hunting and women.

Hemingway’s love of women led to a long-winded, complicated love life littered with a series of tragically poetic marriages. The inherent theatricality in the demise of so many of his marriages will be the starting point for the development of Side Pony Productions’ The Wives of Hemingway.

Hemingway had four wives and inevitably blamed each wife for the breakdown of his previous marriage. The overtly theatrical circumstances of Hemingway’s love life coupled with his obsession with death and violence provide fertile ground for a comically tragic narrative. Hemingway was ardently passionate about big game hunting; hunting bears in America and later big game on his many expeditions to Africa. Hemingway saw hunting as a way of bringing a family together, an activity he had done with his father and a tradition he carried on with his sons.

The Wives of Hemingway draws on two of Hemingway’s texts; ‘The Garden of Eden’ published posthumously which reads as a fictionalised romantic interpretation of the transition between his first and second wife; and ‘The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber’; set on safari this story sheds light on Hemingway’s longstanding obsession with power and masculinity. These texts have been a vehicle to delve into some of Ernest Hemingway’s more interesting preoccupations; androgyny, sexual role reversals, homosexuality and haircuts. Hemingway was a great story teller and his variations on the truth seemed to falter with age as he grew biased toward his more distant marriages and remembered these wives with great reverence and sadness which is most evident in his posthumously published texts.

The Wives of Hemingway follows the love affair of Catherine and Wilson (Hemingway). Catherine’s obsessive love begins to reveal itself through her desire to be a boy, just like Wilson. This manifests through her dressing like him and getting his haircut. The matching duo are admired by a stranger, Helen. So flattered by her flattery, they invite her to get ‘their’ haircut and come on safari with them. As Catherine begins to assert her new found power Wilson’s affections shift from Catherine to Helen and the dynamics of the trio begin to implode. Catherine is reluctant to relinquish her mantle as wife and the three descend into a surreal and brutal battle for love.

Directed by Zoe Pepper
Performed by Adriane Daff, Tim Watts and Josh Price

Devised by Adriane Daff, Tim Watts, Wyatt Nixon Lloyd, Eden Falk and Zoe Pepper

Fringe World 2013 season presented by Side Pony Productions and Weeping Spoon Productions

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Up Coming Dates:

Check back for details of future seasons

Previous Seasons:

Fringe World (Perth)
North Perth Bowls Club
8-16 February 2013

Images Skye Sobejko & David Collins






This project has been supported by PICA through its Artists Residency and Creative Hub (ARCH) program which is funded by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.