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Clare Dalton brings life to Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own”

Mills College Weekly

To a casual observer, being an esteemed professor of law at a
highly regarded east coast university might be satisfying enough.
Surely taking that educational background and using it to create an
institute that strives not only to end domestic violence, but to,
in the meantime, support its victims would occupy more time than
most people have to spare.

But more ambition can be found in Clare Dalton. Enough in fact
to inspire her to create a one-woman show in which she brings to
life Virginia Woolf and her famous work, “A Room of One’s Own.”
Dalton brought her performance of Woolf to Lisser Hall on February
3 and during the reception which followed, not a single critic
could be found.

Students and community members alike held similar sentiment.
While the script of the play was nothing more than the text of
Woolf’s work, Dalton went above and beyond simply reading and
became the author herself.

From her simple plaid skirt, faint green blouse, and plain brown
shoes, to her accent and slightly reserved demeanor, Dalton brought
Woolf herself to Mills. That alone was enough to render a greater
understanding of the text than any unremarkable reading would

The set was simple; a couple of chairs and a table to signify
the room of her own, and a podium to tie the reading to Woolf’s
lecture at Newnam and Girton colleges which inspired the work
itself. The lone misplaced element was a plastic water pitcher.

Speaking without the aid of a sound system, Dalton’s voice
carried throughout the auditorium and the crowd of about fifty had
no trouble hearing her.

Dalton takes great pleasure in having the opportunity to become
Virginia Woolf. Inspired by the author since her teenage years,
Dalton said, “In each chapter of my life I have come back to her
work, mining it for fresh insight and for renewed support, and
bringing to it an even greater appreciation of her struggle.”

Dalton’s performance was sponsored by the Meg Quigley Women’s
Studies Program.