Collected in Last Operas and Plays (1949), Photograph. A Play in Five Acts was one of a half dozen plays that Stein wrote in 1920. She was thinking about cinema and photography at this time, the postwar moment offering new opportunities to experience these media on a large scale. The play presents the theme of twinning and explores technological and biological reproduction. In our interpretation, three main voices (V, ME, and THREE) perform a parlour play with a CHORUS of musicians. The play-within-a-play centers on a photograph of a family on the verge of separation. The audio recording is of a live performance of SIX.TWENTY.OUTRAGEOUS:  Three Gertrude Stein Plays in the Shape of an Opera that took place February 11, 2018 at Symphony Space, New York City.

The recording is 35 minutes.

listen read the play


  • Composer: Daniel Thomas Davis
  • Libretto: Adam Frank with the composer
  • Director/Designer: Doug Fitch
  • Musical Director: David Bloom
  • Sound Engineer: Ben Manley
  • Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek as V
  • Andrew Fuchs as ME
  • Ariadne Greif as THREE
  • Joseph Atkins as WE
  • Momenta Quartet:
    Emilie-Anne Gendron, violin
    Alex Shiozaki, violin
    Stephanie Griffin, viola
    Michael Haas, cello
  • Dimitri Dover, piano
  • The performance was made possible by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (File 435-2013-1684).
    Photo courtesy Steven Pisano Photography.

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