Butterfly Kiss unfolds the story of Lily Ross’s life – and her crime – through oblique, shifting and mesmeric scenes, her interlaced memories revealing the psychosexual tangle of her childhood and the events that led up to her trial.
From her jail cell, Lily summons up her past: a vivid collage of cross-fades and flashbacks, which reveals aspects of her experience cumulatively, not chronologically. At the age of fourteen, her father, a lepidopterist, sets her up as a girlfriend for his ex-Marine buddy. A relationship blossoms with Martha, a woman she meets in a bar. Her grandmother forces her to watch her father and mother together. She runs after her father on his way to visit her mother, who is in hospital with hypochondria. Lily’s relationships are spikily chronicled in hard-edged scenes, all leading in an impossible multiplicity of ways to the terrible truth of what she has done to her mother.
Butterfly Kiss was first performed at the Almeida Theatre, London, in 1994.