Phaedra’s Bed


kim parkhill

photo by emily jewer

Kim Parkhill tackles the story of Phaedra, a woman tormented by the insatiable beauty of her stepson in Phaedra’s Bed, which plays at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia as part of the Atlantic Fringe Festival.

This play explores the sexuality of women and how it is continually perceived, watched and judged by society. Phaedra is trapped in her marriage bed and keeps having orgasmic dreams about her stepson. She is tormented by the perception that other people will have of her as a wife unfaithful to her husband, a woman lustful for sex, or a “cougar;” pathetic, fading and desperate. Why must female sexuality be stigmatized so differently from its male counterpart?

Parkhill’s writing is poetic, insightful and captures Phaedra’s roots in antiquity, while still reflecting our contemporary society. Director Garry Williams, with Designer Evan Brown, have created a beautiful ambiance for the bed that suggests eroticism, domesticity, familiarity, comfort and luxury, while also clearly doubling as a sort of prison which Parkhill at times thrashes around like an animal delirious in a trap.

There is something beautifully raw about Kim Parkhill’s performance that captures the allusions to our animalistic instincts- always omitted from our carefully constructed social facade. There are few moments in performance that seem a bit forced, but overall, Phaedra’s Bed is a captivating and sensual play that leaves the mind spinning with deep questions.

TWISI Rating: 

4 of 5 starsPhaedra’s Bed plays at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (1723 Hollis Street) as part of the Atlantic Fringe Festival at the following times: 

Wednesday, Sep 4 • 11:05 pm
Thursday, Sep 5 • 6:25 pm
Friday, Sep 6 • 7:55 pm
Saturday, Sep 7 • 2:55 pm
Sunday, Sep 8 • 7:00 pm

Tickets are $5.00 and are available in advance online at this website or 30 minutes before each show at the venue on the day of the performance. All tickets bought in person must be purchased with either cash or credit. For more information please visit this website or call 902.422.7604 between 10:00am and 5:00pm. 

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