Life from Mars discovered on the fringe
Friday 16 August 1996
The verse play by the poet and playwright Glyn Maxwell, winner of the Somerset Maugham Prize for poetry, dramatises accounts by two monks of the bizarre discovery of a green girl and boy in a wolfpit near the Suffolk village of St Mary Woolpit in 1154.
According to the tales, their skin was "leek green" and they refused to eat until they came upon some green beans, which they ate with avidity.
The boy, who was "oppressed by langour", died, but his sister gradually lost her green colour after she started to eat bread and later married.
Ralph of Coggeshall, one of the monks, observes dispassionately that the girl was "very lascivious and wanton. Questioned frequently concerning the men of the region, she averred that all dwellers and things in the region were tinged with a green colour, and that they perceived no sun, but enjoyed a certain brightness such as happens after sunset.
"Questioned further by what means she had come into this land with the aforesaid boy, she replied that because they were following some cattle, they came into a cave. Having entered which, they heard a certain delectable sound of bells; caught up in sweetness of which sound, they walked for a long time, wandering through the cavern, until they came to the exit of it."
The premiere of Wolfpit is being performed at the Garage Theatre by the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club, whose former members include Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, John Cleese, Sam Mendes and Tony Slattery.
Sally Moss, the second-year English student who is directing the play, made contact with Maxwell after attending one of his poetry readings and sending him a fan letter. He offered her the play when she asked if he had any unknown work she could direct.
The Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes, described Wolfpit, published by Arc last week, as a "fascinating and intriguing work" after reading the manuscript.
Maxwell said: "The play is about how we don't actually want the miraculous to happen. In the end, you see the village closing up again like a wound that has healed."
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 'Necrophilia-obsessed' girl among double murder accused in three-way sex case
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve
Laurie Lee's Rosie: What is it like to inspire a writer's work and be immortalised forever on the page?
Doctor Who series 8: Time Heist pictures revealed ahead of episode 5
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Star Wars 7 leaked set photo of Adam Driver that changes everything
Pharrell Williams says that 'Blurred Lines' criticism is 'out of context'
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'