Hayley Mills

Written by Harry Clark
Music by Fanny Hensel, Clara Schumann, Amy Beach, Carrie Jacobs Bond, Lili and Nadia Boulanger.

1W: Unnamed protagonist
2M: pianist and singer OR pianist and cellist OR pianist and violinist
3M: pianist, soprano and cellist

“Academic achievements have forced conservative minds to admit that women’s intellect is not inferior to that of man. From the available data it seems, however, that the more scholastic the education of women, the fewer children and less the ability to nurse children. Not intelligence but education by present manmade ways is related inversely to fecundity.” Psychologist G. Stanley Hall (1920s)

I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.

Amy Lowell, from her poem “Patterns”

Margot Kidder

Margot Kidder

A Rare Pattern was commissioned by Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University as part of its annual Women and Creativity Conference. The premiere was given by Barbara Feldon and it has enjoyed many performances since by Hayley Mills and Margot Kidder.

A Rare Pattern opens as our unnamed heroine enrolls in Vassar College in the 1920s and follows her life for the next 20 years, through World War II. She experiences a mental collapse during her time at Vassar, an artistic and spiritual crisis, and is compelled to speak her mind solely through the thoughts and ideas of the leading female writers and thinkers of her day, including such luminaries as Hannah Arendt, Jane Austen, Nadia Boulanger, Willa Cather, Adelaide Crapsey, Emily Dickinson, Zelda Fitzgerald, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Corra May White Harris, Sarah Orne Jewett, Amy Lowell, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Marianne Moore, Dorothy Parker, Mary Shaw, Gertrude Stein, Edith Wharton and Virginia Woolf.

Wander down the garden paths as she searches for a life of meaning in her own words, for she, too, is a Rare Pattern.