As scholar of the Classics and drama studies, Jane Montgomery Griffiths has devoted much of her artistic practice to interpreting the voices of women who have either been censored or misinterpreted throughout history. Montgomery Griffiths has been celebrated for her writing of, and solo performances in, productions such as Razing Hypatia and Sappho in 9 Fragments. With her experience of theatrically exploring female desire, sexuality and intellectual contribution, it is understandable that Montgomery Griffiths was attracted to Dorothy Porter’s verse novel Wild Surmise written in the Sapphic tradition with lyrics mediating on desire, exploration and loss.
'In the program notes to the production of Wild Surmise, Montgomery Griffiths writes that the ‘project started with the act of falling in love – falling in love with characters, falling in love with a book, falling in love through the act of reading.’ Love is one of the central themes of Porter’s Wild Surmise and it was carried onto the stage with Montgomery Griffiths’ performance as Alex, an astrobiologist infatuated with discovering life on one of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons, Europa. This moon is both the subject of astrobiological study and the intergalactic symbol of desire for Alex who is gravitating away from her literary academic husband Daniel, played by Humphrey Bower, and into an affair with the astrophysicist Phoebe.
'Directed by Marion Potts and staged at the Malthouse Theatre from 9 November to 2 December 2012, the production of Wild Surmise was culturally significant as it embraced the oral tradition of poetry and allowed for new audiences to be exposed to Porter’s dynamic poetics...' (Publication abstract)