Through the eyes of the South African born feminist Olive Schreiner, friend, witness and narrator of Eleanor Marx's tragedy, the plot explores real events in the last two years of Eleanor's life, uncovering the secrets, lies and betrayals over two generations of the Marx family. The play is set in the 1890s and concerns Edward Aveling, Eleanor's common-law husband, whose secret marriage leads to Eleanor's suicide. Eleanor also discovers the scandalous illegitimacy of her half-brother, Freddy Demuth - his mother was the Marx's family's housekeeper. With the help of her friend Israel Zangwill, Eleanor discovers her Jewish identity that her father, Karl Marx, rejected.
Marion Baraitser is a commissioned Arts Council and BBC playwright. She is an award winning published playwright, short story writer, translator and editor. She took an M.A. in English Literature at Witwatersrand University, then worked as a teacher and journalist before settling in London. She was tutor in English Literature for Birkbeck Extramural Department, London University for many years and taught Creative Writing for Morley College, City Lit Institute, Women's Theatre Workshop. In 1996 with an Arts Council award, and with grants from UNESCO and the European Jewish Publications Society, she started her own press, Loki Books, specialising in new fiction in translation from minority languages by women. As editor of 'Plays by Mediterranean Women' she attended the 'Women Writers Talk Peace' conference in March 1997 in Israel on a British Council travel award. She lives in London with her children and husband.