Myrrh is Mine by Lisa Coleman-Brown
Madness, masturbation, menstruation… murder? Inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre, and Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Myrrh Is Mine imagines the insular nature of intimacy and its effect on the relationship between the “mad woman in the attic” and her caregiver Grace Poole.
Themes of sanity, secrecy, servitude, and subjugation are explored as Rochester’s “mad” Creole wife Bertha is kept hidden and held against her will in the attic before, during, and after Jane Eyre’s tenure as governess. Featuring the characters of Bertha, her caregiver, her brother, and Rochester, the play examines the perils of intimacy between: husband and wife, employer and servant, prisoner and jailor, the ill and the caregiver, madness and sanity; and bonding within the tomb like confines of the attic as represented by a bloody umbilical cord.
The title echoes a verse from the Christmas Carol “We Three Kings”:
Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
Keywords: Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, attic, female bonding, subjugation, madness, umbilical cord, intimacy