Sunday, April 30, 2017

Breathtakingly beautiful

On Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 12:03 pm by M. in , , , ,    No comments
We have a couple of reviews of the Milwaukee performances of Polly Teale's Jane Eyre. A positive one:
In the Polly Teale adaptation being staged here, Margaret Ivey’s Jane and Rin Allen’s Bertha had once been boon companions.  Initially dressed in red, Bertha shadows the more austerely dressed Jane, while embodying the lithe, free-spirited side of herself that Jane gradually learns to tamp down. It is Jane who first locks Bertha away, in a world where women are rendered invisible.
As she paces the red room, Allen gives big, full-throttled expression to all that the corseted Jane cannot.  Harrowing as a sometimes straitjacketed mad woman, Allen can also be beautiful as she joyfully embodies Jane’s passion, channeling Peter Kyle’s striking movement choreography.
For all that, I’ll admit there were times I forgot Allen was perched above me; that’s the point.  Along with Ivey’s Jane, I instead found myself caught up in the busy nothings of the conscious world, brought to life by an ensemble of eight additional actors playing dozens of characters as well as animals. (...)
 [The set] It also allows Kyle’s movement choreography the room it needs to capture the tension between a corseted stillness and the wildly gyrating emotion such stillness conceals.  In the closing moments of Act I, we get a particularly fine example of the payoff, involving a joyous Bertha embodying the new love between Jane and Rochester.  I won’t give it away; but you’ll know it when you see it.  It’s breathtakingly beautiful. (...)
[Jane] Shaw’s supremely intelligent music and sound design is a huge, very moving plus to this production.  Like Healy’s costuming, it marks a transitional moment within England, between a largely rural and often evangelical past and a more romantic and individualized future – true to a Jane caught between duty and desire; tradition and freedom; classical proportion and romantic inclination; and communitarian impulses and individualized expression. (Mike Fischer in The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel)
And a negative one on the best tradition of keep-it-simple because... you know, thinking and all that elitist crap:
In preparation for the production, the theater company has provided all kinds of supporting information about the novel, about Brontë, about Jane, about the other characters in the book and about the time period of the novel.
That is where my problem arose with this production. It's almost as if the artistic team learned and knew too much about this story and forgot that, for most of us, this should be a slightly over two-hour journey told with clarity and thought.
It's obvious a lot of thought went into this production, but the clarity part seemed to be missing, almost on purpose. (...)
Some of the choices don't really seem to be of much service to the story either. The set design is cold and brittle, offering not a single glimpse of the opulence of Victorian England. There are gimmicks, like having actors portray horses pulling a carriage or pet puppies. They are distracting to say the least.
It's almost as if this production is too precious, to cute for its own good. It's like the story can't find it's way out from under the weight of all this production. (Dave Begel in OnMilwaukee)
The radio station WISN-ABC also presents the production.

The Guardian, guess what? It also mentions Wuthering Heights 2011 in a review of the Lady Macbeth film by William Oldroyd:
Early scenes of Katherine’s escape from confinement on to misty moors have the same Brontë-esque lust for life that Andrea Arnold captured in her 2011 adaptation of Wuthering Heights. (Mark Kermode)
And the Daily Mail cannot avoid the Brontë temptation:
William Oldroyd’s new film – his debut feature, in fact – may be called Lady Macbeth but for the opening half-hour it seems more like a cross between Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Wuthering Heights as the newly married but instantly rejected Katherine (Florence Pugh) finds the customary consolation in the arms of her husband’s ruggedly handsome new groomsman, Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis). (Matthew Bond)
And neither can The Sunday Herald:
Its combination of rough manners, wild landscape and sex suggests a meeting of Wuthering Heights with Lady Chatterley’s Lover, but spiced with a female character more compelling and morally challenging than either of those novels offers. (Demetrios Matheou)
Third Coast Review posts about the film Voice from the Stone by Eric D. Howell:
The problem is that the movie feels like third-rate Jane Eyre, as it allows the low rumbles of romance between Verena and Klaus take over the far more interesting story of what is going on with Jakob and whether a dead woman is speaking to him and perhaps others in the house. (Steve Prokopy)
Villains, good and evil in literature are discussed in The Huffington Post-Australia:
While Charlotte Brontë might be sympathetic to Mr Rochester, her book is riddled with characters whose meanness to the orphan, Jane, remains unjustified. (Fleur Morrison)
The Irish Independent lists some scenic road trips in Ireland:
Head north here to see the poet’s grave at Drumcliff (“Cast a cold eye...”) and, if time permits, take a spin around Mullaghmore for Wuthering Heights-style views of Classiebawn Castle, before detouring inland towards the epic Gleniff Horseshoe and Benwiskin. (Pól Ó Conghaile)
The love life of the French politician Emmanuelle Macron is discussed in Elle:
His parents sent him to Paris to keep them apart like he was Catherine in Wuthering Heights, but like the Phantom and Christine in Love Never Dies, they found their way back to each other. Now they're married and while they don't have any plans to have kids, Macron is step-grandfather to seven children. (R. Erich Thomas)
The author Johanne Lykke Holm says in Dagens Nyheter:
Jag hade en Anna Karenina-fas och en Heathcliff-fas. Jag gjorde mig till bild. Jag låg och läste utsträckt på golvet om natten. Jag satt och läste i fönsterkarmen i mitt flickrum i gryningen. (Translation)
Diario de Colima (México) reports a local marathon reading which featured, among many others, Emily Brontë.
An very cyclist alert from the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
Winston Plowes and His Random Poetry Generating Bicycle in and around Brontë Parsonage Museum
April 30th 2017 11:00am - 04:00pm

We wanted to be involved in the Tour de Yorkshire, but couldn’t face the cobbles… So as the cyclists make their way through Haworth, look out for our Parsonage Poet on a Bike – Winston Plowes – and his Random Poetry Generating Bicycle. Winston will be pottering around the Parsonage and Main Street, inspiring all to find their hidden poet. Lycra not essential.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Let's begin with an unexpected Branwell tribute. Fields of Vision Land Art celebrates the bicentenary of both Branwell Brontë and the bicycle with this Tour de Yorkshire land art installation:

More reviews of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as performed in York:
This is a solid piece of theatre and true to Anne Brontë’s concept, but somehow it doesn’t excite. Some rather stolid dialogue scenes at the Markhams’ farm don’t help, but also Elizabeth Newman’s production seems geared to the in-the-round (or octagonal) space of the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, where it began. There is some clumsy blocking for the proscenium stage, entrances and exits go for nothing, and too much of the action, especially in Act 1, is confined to a downstage strip where characters stand or sit in a half-circle. (Ron Simpson in The Reviews Hub)
Whereas the novel's revelations and discoveries come in the form of letters, here McAndrew enacts what she calls the first rule of theatre: "Show, don't tell". To do so, she divides the story into a first half where gossip and opprobrium rise in reaction to Mrs Graham's presence as a reclusive single mother in Yorkshire, while in the second comes "the reveal" – trailered just before the interval – where we learn what drove her north: her abusive relationship with her cruel, drunken rake of a husband Arthur (Marc Small).
On Amanda Stoodley's set of withered moorland dry stone walls that double as fireplaces, shards of Yorkshire humour around the Markham table make way for flint hardness in Elizabeth Newman's impassioned production, which fans the flames of the battle of inequality between wrongful men with all the rights and the women damaged in their path, while resonating with today's still imbalanced world.
Ben Occhipini's sound design of foreboding cellos and wild winds underpins the emotional tug of Pryce's resolute Helen, a singular woman misjudged in her time but now so ripe for reappraisal that Sally Wainwright has been commissioned to write a television adaptation. (Charles Hutchinson in The York Press)
Tribune de Genève (in French) reviews the Les Hauts de Hurlevent performances at the Théatre du Grütli:
La metteure en scène genevoise (acclamée notamment pour Macbeth’s Show, Héloïse, Les Aventures de Nathalie Nicole Nicole) prend garde à contourner dans sa transposition les pièges de la littéralité. Son chef-d’œuvre du romantisme anglais, on peut dire qu’elle l’a digéré avant de le porter à la scène. Adresses au public, narration prise en charge par des comédiens à rôles dédoublés, arbres généalogiques récapitulés à la craie, adjonction d’un personnage de touriste contemporaine servant d’émissaire au spectateur voyageur, nombreux sont les truchements qui préviennent la tentation naturaliste. Si bien que Camille Giacobino peut sans crainte donner libre cours à tous les excès sensoriels qu’elle contient comme une lave. Les corps se vautreront dans la fange, se contorsionneront de désir, courront et hurleront sans frein, pour tout aussitôt se prêter à la caricature
burlesque. (...)
On suit ainsi depuis une quinzaine d’années le parcours d’une artiste qui militerait pour la cause féministe, sans en adopter le discours ni les potentielles œillères. Seulement en aspirant à pleins poumons, sur le modèle de la Brontë, la complexité, les contradictions et les gouffres du sentiment amoureux. Et d’y inclure, sans pudeur, les soubresauts tant corporels que comportementaux causés par ses mouvements incontrôlés. Du caprice au désespoir, de l’ambition à la jalousie, du défi à l’agonie, cette corrida retourne par paquets la terre de bruyère. Et nos cœurs avec. (Katia Berger) (Translation)
A local poetry competition with a Brontë twist in Wilmslow:
A talented teenager from Wilmslow has won the Cheshire Poetry by Heart competition after using her own experiences of childhood confusion to inform her poetry.
GCSE student Ciara Allen was among 40 of the top young readers of verse nationwide to compete at the British Library, winning the title of Cheshire Champion.
Ciara, 15, chose 'Remembrance' by Emily Brontë in the pre-1914 section and 'Originally' by today's Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy in the post-First World War category. (Lisa Reeves)
What would a newsround be like these days without a Brontë mention in a Lady Macbeth review:
Yet the atmosphere in the mansion on the wild and windy moors is more Brontë than anything else, particularly when Katherine’s husband disappears to deal with a colliery disaster and she is left alone, bored and unsatisfied. Enter the handsome mixed-race groomsman Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis), and an extremely raunchy affair begins in the carved wooden marital bed.
Sebastian is very much in the Heathcliff mould — indeed, Emily Brontë described her lead variously as “a Lascar” (a term used for Indian sailors coming to Liverpool) and a “dark-skinned gipsy in aspect” — and the colour-blind casting here may equally have its roots in Yorkshire’s past. (Kate Muir in The Times)
This ruthless, visceral, and wickedly subversive period piece lacks any input from The Bard, instead screening like a piano-wire-tight thriller as if penned by the Brontë sisters. It is an alarming film – one which refuses to extinguish any of the gruelling psychological and physical punishment – yet there is a bespoke beauty to all the callousness.  (Chris Haydon in Filmoria)
 Katerina begins to rebel, first through an affair with a farmhand, then through a series of dark twist and turns that eventually result in murder. With shades of classic novels like Madame Bovary and Zola's Therèse Raquin and a touch of Brontë-worthy gloom, the action has been shifted to the bleak Northumbrian countryside for the utterly compelling film adaptation, which sees Florence Pugh give a star-making performance as Katherine. (Katie Rosseinsky in Grazia Daily)
Es una película de época, pero menos glamurosa que sucia. No sé si 'Cumbres borrascosas', de Andrea Arnold, fue una referencia. Absolutamente. La película de Arnold era brutal. Mostraba la realidad de la época sin ambages. Era, además, muy orgánica y visceral. Me gustan esas cualidades. (Interview to William Oldroyd by Juan Manuel Freire in El Periódico) (Translation)
Circleville Herald gets poetic thinking of trees:
Any one tree, no matter where it lives, or how old it is, is special, not just because of its beauty or purpose, but also for the memories it is a part of. There is a great old oak tree where a young girl rested in the shade the first time she read Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and began dreaming of her own Heathcliffe (sic). There is a red maple where two young lovers etched their initials in the shape of a heart – and years later returned, where he greeted her on bended knee. (Amy J. Randall-McSorley)
The Australian mentions the Japanese signs on the Brontë moors:
For me one of the great tourist sights in the modern world is the sight of other tourists in unexpected contexts, such as Chinese women, hijabs slipping down their backs, earnestly following an English-fluent guide amid the desert mosques of Yazd, in Iran, or the Japanese who follow hiragana signs on footpaths around the Yorkshire Moors in search of the Brontës. (Pico Iyer)
Advocate traces the normalisation of lesbian spaces:
I never had to search further than the library at Mount Holyoke where girlfriends draped themselves over each other while studying Jane Eyre, or to any number of cafes in Northampton where conversations about the queer relationships on Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Queer as Folk could be overheard. (Tracy E. Girlchrist)
Financial Times has a Q&A with author Mariana Enríquez:
What book changed your life?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.
Arcadia (in Spanish) interviews her:
Leyó cada tarde, sin olvidarse de seguir obsesivamente el orden en el que venían; primero estaba A sangre fría de Truman Capote, el segundo era una antología de Borges, el tercero Graham Greene. Después de incontables tardes solitarias, se encontró leyendo el último: Cumbres Borrascosas de Emily Brönte (sic). Este fue el inicio, una especie de epifanía que la dejó atrapada en el mundo de la literatura. (Ángela Martín Laiton(Translation)
Creative Connection interviews painter and photographer Claire Luxton:
A: Who do you look to for inspiration?
C: Growing up I was lucky enough to have some super inspirational art teachers but it was primarily the works of Turner and Antony Gormley that inspired me to be an artist. Now I find inspiration in many places; from historical myths and the Brontë Sisters, to Quentin Tarantino and Alexander McQueen.
Télérama (in French) reviews the recent edition of Brontë letters in French:
Les lettres de Charlotte ne lèvent en rien le voile sur le secret prodige littéraire survenu au mitan du xixe siècle, dans une bourgade ordinaire du pluvieux Yorkshire — mais elles l'incarnent en une jeune femme vive et sensible qui, à 39 ans, rejoignit ses soeurs dans la tombe. (Nathalie Crom) (Translation)
Sometimes the stormy sea of Brontë mentions delivers some jewels. This one is priceless:
Cinco libros que toda chica debe leer (...)
Los libros son: “Orgullo y prejuicio” de Jane Austen; “Charlotte Bronte” de Jane Eyre (????????); captura todos los valores que hay (!!). (Frontera.Info) (Translation) 
Tempi (in Italian) has an article on teenage reads:
Con Tessa e Hardin è stato possibile rivivere emozioni che appartengono ad altre indimenticabili storie d’amore, diventate dei veri e propri classici della letteratura, come Cime tempestose, Orgoglio e pregiudizio e Anna Karenina». Che fa Sperling & Kupfer? Non solo ristampa Emily Brontë, Jane Austen e Lev Tolstoj in una edizione speciale chiamata “I classici di After”, ma li ricopertina pure con la stessa cover del “romanzo americano” «come fossero parenti del porno soft di Anna Todd», tuonò Michela Murgia, l’unica ad aver stroncato senza proverbiali snobismi un libro che «ha già fatto tutti i danni che poteva fare». (Caterina Giojelli) (Translation)
RP-Online (in German) reviews the film Siebzehn by Monja Art:
Die Jugendlichen treffen sich in einer Disco, die "Shake" heißt. Sie leben zwischen flachen und langgestreckten Feldern und sehnen sich nach Wien. Sie lesen "Madame Bovary", hören Wanda und Bilderbuch, sie schauen "Sturmhöhe" und trinken Bier und Schnaps, und sie wissen auch nicht so genau, ob alles bleibt, wie es ist. (Philipp Holstein) (Translation)
A reader of Fort Wayne News-Sentinel is reading Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next saga; Ultima Voce (in Italian) compares the world of Austen (via Pride and Prejudice) with the world of the Brontës (via Wuthering Heights). We read in Victoria Advocate how
A.D.D. Acting Company presented "Rapunzel," "Jane Eyre," and "Twain's Tales" on Thursday and Friday at Fellowship Bible Church.
Catherine Lowell lists several books inspired by Jane Eyre on The MillionsMike Sheridan – Researcher and Writer continues posting about Jane Eyre. Read the Write Act and Shocks and Shoes review Wuthering Heights.
Several Italian news outlets publish the death of the screenwriter Enrico Medioli (1925-2017).

His long and successful career is full of masterworks of the Italian cinema and his work with some of the really big names of the golden age of the transalpine cinematography: Luchino Visconti,  Valerio Zurlini, Sergio Leone, Mauro Bolognini, Alberto Lattuada, Liliana Cavani or Vittorio Caprioli.

Probably not the work by which he would be remembered (on a list where you can find Rocco e i suoi fratelli, La ragazza con la valigia, Il Gattopardo, Ludwig, C'era una volta in America ... it's certainly difficult) but in 2004 he entered the Brontë film vault with a TV adaptation of Wuthering Heights:
Cime TempestoseDirected by Fabrizio Costa
Written by Salvatore Basile and Enrico Medioli
With Alessio Boni and Anita Caprioli

12:42 am by M. in , , ,    No comments
A dance piece with a Brontë-related choreography is performed these days in Menlo Park, CA:
Menlowe Ballet presents
Floraison. Spring Season 
April 28-30
Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center

Floraison celebrates artistry unfolding within our ranks with a world premiere by Michael Lowe & Sarah-Jane Measor to the music of Philip Glass, a new contemporary work by company dancers Stefanie Maughan and Ali McKeon, spirited performances by aspiring young dancers, and the return of Ms. Measor’s powerfully poignant Portraits.

Portraits honors the spirit and accomplishments of women from history who have touched the world with courage and creativity. Portraits marks the professional choreographic debut of Associate Artistic Director Sarah-Jane Measor.
Picture: Patience Gordon, Christina Schifano and Demetria Schioldager as the Brontë sisters in Portraits. (Eric Raeber)

The Brontë sisters are some of these women from history portrayed in Ms. Measor's piece:
Due to many requests, Associate Artistic Director Sarah-Jane Measor is bringing "Portraits" back to the stage for the program. She comes from the U.K. and choreographed a contemporary piece last fall to honor the courage and spirit of important female figures in British history: Lady Jane Grey, the Brontë sisters, an English Channel swimmer, and two suffragettes.
Ms. Shiveley gave several reasons the premiere of that ballet was so popular. The choreographer, seven company dancers and costume designer are all women, the staging incorporates video, and there's a surprise ending.
"The music is stunning, and with the story of these women challenging adverse circumstances, people were crying at every performance," she said.
The company originally performed "Portraits" right before the November election. Ms. Shiveley found the piece timely then and "very timely" now as "more and more women are sensitive and in touch with the challenges that they face." (Kate Daly in The Almanac News)
Meanwhile, at the other side of the world in Parma, Italy, Jane Eyre 2011 takes part in the Realtà e Finzione.  Destini femminili tra Sette e Ottocento series of screenings:
Cinema Astra
April 29, 3:00 PM
Jane Eyre, di Cary Fukunaga (Gran Bretagna/USA 2011)

Dopo uninfanzia di maltrattamenti in una famiglia adottiva e poi presso una scuola di carità, lorfana Jane è decisa a prendere in mano la propria esistenza, senza più dubbi o paure, grazie a unistruzione che lha resa consapevole e indipendente. Lincontro con Rochester suscita in lei un amore travolgente, tormentato però dai sensi di colpi. Il suo personaggio è un esempio di integrità, indipendenza di spirito e forza interiore non prive tuttavia di passionalità. Questa ennesima trasposizione del celebre romanzo di Charlotte Brontë prova il fascino ancora oggi esercitato dal personaggio di Jane.

Friday, April 28, 2017

We have a couple of reviews of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, currently on stage at York Theatre Royal. From The Yorkshire Post:
Much of the meat of Brontë’s extraordinarily forward-thinking observations on gender inequality is retained and rendered into sparky, witty dialogue. Director Elizabeth Newman moves the action along at a sprightly pace, while the performances from the cast of eight, most of whom play two roles, are uniformly excellent.
The Guardian gives it 2 stars out of 5:
Branwell Brontë’s gift to posterity may be trifling in comparison to that of his sisters. But there’s a school of thought that his youngest sister, Anne, might never have written her masterpiece, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, without her brother’s bad example.
The Brontë Parsonage museum in Haworth currently contains an intriguing installation, curated by the poet Simon Armitage, that recreates the squalid chaos of the room in which Branwell drank himself to death. Yet on its publication in 1848, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was less shocking for its portrait of a dissolute alcoholic than the fact that a married woman – the enigmatic tenant of the title – should abscond and seek to support herself by independent means. Charlotte Brontë even suppressed further publication of the work after her sister’s death, dismissing the subject as “a mistake” and the novel “hardly desirable to preserve”. [...]
The great difficulty this poses to Deborah McAndrew’s adaptation is that such a crucial exchange, and the innermost thoughts it reveals, are extremely difficult to convey without falling into the precis trap, parsing the plot without gaining access to Anne Brontë’s deeply internalised style. And there seems to be a grave structural miscalculation in that the diary does not change hands until the end of the first half, at which point the heroine blurts out the key points of its contents, thus negating the impact of the revelations to follow.
Elizabeth Newman – artistic director of the Bolton Octagon where this co-production originated – has collaborated with McAndrew on some exceptionally imaginative Dickens adaptations in the past. However, in this instance she resorts to a stolid literalism that features a real, roaring fire and even a real border collie, which gives an intelligent performance but upstages the human actors’ attempts to establish a convincing illusion of rugged, rural life.
Phoebe Pryce provides a suitably flashing-eyed performance in the title role, yet the concision imposed by the adaptation does her few favours. For all the trauma she endures, it’s hard to escape the intimation that she may be suffering as much from an excess of piety as her husband is from an excess of drink. (Alfred Hickling)
The Wear Valley Advertiser interviews Phoebe Pryce, who plays Helen, and whose father was Patrick Brontë in To Walk Invisible.
Does having a famous father like Jonathan Pryce, who has just starred in a high-profile BBC programme about the Brontes, make it more difficult or easier for his daughter Phoebe to take on the stage role of Anne Brontë’s 1848 heroine Helen Graham?
“I honestly can’t tell you because all I know is that I’ve got nothing else to compare it to. I owe a great deal to my mum (actress Kate Fahy) and dad and I’ve got two brothers who aren’t actors, so one of us had to do it. I was fortunate enough to be taken along to see lots of wonderful things when I was growing up. I’m sure that’s the reason I’m doing this career, but harder or easier I don’t know. It’s never an easy business to get into to, but I’m just grateful for what I’m doing,” says Phoebe about being cast as the mysterious young widow who becomes The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, adapted from what is thought to be the UK’s first feminist novel.
“My dad had such a wonderful time doing To Walk Invisible that he was very touched when he found out I was doing this. Dad grew so fond of all the Bronte stories playing Patrick Bronte, particularly Anne, that he was glad to chat about my role. He’s been away a long time and we haven’t had too much time to discuss my rehearsals.” [...]
“It’s always exciting to get involved in projects that haven’t been kind of explored to what I would consider to be its full capacity. Obviously, Anne is the lesser-known of the sisters. I didn’t know the novel before and I’m very ashamed of that now because I think it’s so wonderful because Anne was an unsung hero. This is a story that was way ahead of its time and it’s a great honour to be part of it,” adds Phoebe.
Was she tempted to look at Tara Fitzgerald’s popular TV version of Helen in 1996?
“I actually didn’t look at any other version and most of the things I do try, if I haven’t seen an adaptation before, I tend to steer clear of other shows so that I can, hopefully, make something completely new. We can then make it our own as a cast and take that journey with the director... but I definitely will watch Tara Fitzgerald when I’m finished because I love period drama. It’s been a bit tortuous not sneaking a look at things like this,” Phoebe laughs.
She is surprised there have been so few productions of The Tenant and says: “I can only speak about our adaptation which I feel makes the script really sing, and is down to playwright Deborah McAndrew. Pieces from the novel that haven’t been included tend to enhance the stage show rather than take anything away.” [...]
Does Phoebe agree with the theory that Anne based Helen’s husband on her troubled brother Bramwell. “Yes, it’s not one of those things we’ve firmly fixed on, but you can see how Anne was strongly influenced by her surroundings and we know that one of the people affected by alcoholism was her brother. It’s impossible to think that she wasn’t influenced by him,” she says.
Another issue was that reprints of The Tenant were, at one stage, suppressed by Anne’s more famous sister Charlotte. “There was a lot of speculation and nobody could be quite sure why, but one of the things might have been that it was exposing Bramwell (sic) and Charlotte might not have wanted his memory to be spoiled, or possibly that she didn’t want her sister to have a successful novel. We really don’t know, but there are so many rumours online.” (Dave Horsley)
While The York Press has an interview with adapter Deborah McAndrew.
"I've always been a huge fan of Anne's writing, when the other two sisters [Charlotte and Emily] get all the attention, but 'Tenant' is a great story of a woman who's so mysterious and fascinating," says Deborah, whose new commission for the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, and York Theatre Royal is being presented in York until May 6 under the direction of Newman, the Octagon's artistic director.
"To my knowledge, there's only been one adaptation, by Lisa Evans, which I wasn't familiar with and didn't look at, but I knew the story would make a good piece of theatre, with a woman at the centre who's breaking all the rules, which wasn't acceptable to society. That really drew me to writing the adaptation." [...]
"There are great characters, but it was the politics of the book that attracted me: Anne was angry about women's position in society and the injustice of that," says Deborah.
"Helen Graham is a woman with no rights, who becomes the property of a man who's unworthy in every respect, and so it it's a story full of rage against the injustices of that time."
Deborah's adaptation obeys what she calls the first rule of drama: "Show, don't tell," she says. "There'll be no 'first person narrating' direct to the audience. The novel has a great sweep to it, so I've structured it to turn it into a play, rather than just replicating the book." (Charles Hutchinson)
UK Theatre Network reviews Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre as seen at The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury.
Nadia Clifford, gives a powerful performance of emotional depth and insight in the title role.  The ensemble cast work their socks off to play a variety of roles, including a rather lovable dog who made me smile whenever I saw him.
The wooden set with a series of levels and ladders worked very well to represent the various locations throughout the show.  It’s certainly an exciting and innovative piece of theatre that captures your imagination, even if some of the devices appeared rather stagey.  The only few things I found jarred were Mr Rochester’s swearing when he first met Jane (not sure if that was in the book?!) and the decision to include Noel Coward’s song ‘Mad About the Boy’ and Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, which both seemed out of place. (Yvonne Delahaye)
The Telegraph & Argus gives more information about the proposal of the Brontë Society to take over the Haworth's Visitor Information Center:
Haworth Main Street trader Nikki Milner has previously promoted a petition calling for the centre in Haworth to remain open, arguing that the facility is of "paramount importance" to the village.
Reacting to the Brontë Society's plan she said: "From a personal point of view I can see how it could work well, and if it does allow the centre to be retained then that's great.
"It would be beneficial and I'm sure the village would work with the Society. I'd rather have this happen than lose it altogether.
"But I still think it's ludicrous that we're having to look at these different ways of keeping it open.
"I know the centre needs some improvements to make sure it's financially viable but Bradford Council should be ensuring it stays open anyway, instead of us having to consider these other options."
Worth Valley Ward councillor Rebecca Poulsen said that while she remained deeply unhappy with the original recommendation that Haworth's centre should close, she was pleased to see there is now an alternative way of saving it.
"I welcome the fact an organisation has come forward that has a vested interest in a successful tourism sector in the Worth Valley and Haworth," she said. (Miran Rahman)
We have lots of reviews connecting the film Lady Macbeth to something (anything) Brontë.
Yet the atmosphere in the mansion on the wild and windy moors is more Brontë than anything else, particularly when Katherine’s husband disappears to deal with a colliery disaster and she is left alone, bored and unsatisfied (Kate Muir in The Times)
Based on Nikolai Leskov’s novella Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk, Lady Macbeth shows the influence of Madame Bovary, Wuthering Heights and Lady Chatterley’s Lover as it builds towards a ferocious climax. (Express)
Ultimately, Lady Macbeth makes Wuthering Heights resemble a Famous Five adventure where everyone ends up scoffing creamed scones and having a jolly good time. (John Byrne on RTÉ)
Despite the Shakespean title, the Eng Lit GCSE set text it most resembles is Wuthering Heights. Out on the wild and windy moors she rolls and falls into something very dark, a temper and jealousy too hot and too greedy.
In movie terms it is as though Oldroyd has taken the cast and locations of Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights and given them a severe dressing down. (Michael Joyce in Eastern Daily Press)
Intriguingly, the film never explicitly comments on race (Sebastian and Anna are both black), but it’s an undeniable factor that leaves its own powerful impact and recalls Andrea Arnold’s similar approach in her 2011 adaptation of Wuthering Heights. (Matthew Turner on iNews)
At the very heart of why this strikingly austere and disquieting film – evocative of everything from the work of Michael Haneke to Andrea Arnold’s uncompromising 2011 version of Wuthering Heights – is the performance of Pugh in the lead role. (Ross Miller in The National)
This Lady Macbeth is reminiscent of Pascale Ferran’s Lady Chatterley (2006) and Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights (2011) – in which Paul Hilton played Mr Earnshaw. There are similar ways in which racial difference is rendered visible and turned into a new source of tension. The house itself is a potent character. (Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian)
Theatre and opera director William Oldroyd’s feature debut is heavy on colour-coded atmosphere, from Katherine’s electric blue dress to the lush countryside she sometimes escapes to. As Sebastian, the violent servant she erupts with lust for, the part-Armenian Cosmo Jarvis (pictured below right with Pugh), is in this context a dark, forbidden other in the mansion’s pale world. This recalls Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights (2011), when the “Laskar” skin of Heathcliff allowed an interracial affair with Cathy. Race, as well as class and gender, also simmer in Lady Macbeth’s 19th century rustic England. (Nick Hasted in The Arts Desk)
The East Hampton Star reviews Sheila Kohler's book Once We Were Sisters.
Within close proximity Sheila and Maxine marry. Sheila has become pregnant upon losing her virginity, although the pregnancy does not come to term. Her husband, Michael, is a handsome American scholar. They live in Paris. But when the larger family travels through Europe, Michael chooses to remain apart. “In Rapallo Michael prefers to lie on his bed and read ‘Jane Eyre.’ My mother scoffs. ‘A man does not read in the morning,’ she says. Reading is considered an idle pastime, not to be indulged in too frequently. It therefore becomes an illicit source of pleasure.” (Laura Wells)
AwesomeGang interviews writer Pauline Wharton:
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring? I would certainly take one or two of the classics I read as a child and gave me my love of literature – ‘Pride and Prejudice’ ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Wuthering Heights.’ And I also like ‘Dostoevsky’s ‘The Devils.’ I’m fond of A.J.Cronin’s ‘The Citadel’, because it was the first book I read that made me realise a novel didn’t need to be a thriller or a romance – it could just be about life! I also like Dorothy Sayers, and the short stories of Dorothy Whipple. A mixed bag, really.
The Daily Citizen's Athlete of the Week, Maria Wedig, names Wuthering Heights as her favourite book.

The Ringer wonders whether 'Chat-Fiction Apps [are] the New YA Novels'.
Caroline Renee Mills loves classic British literature. The 32-year-old freelance writer adores Thomas Hardy’s 1878 Victorian novel The Return of the Native, especially for the “dark, misunderstood, moody” character Eustacia Vye. She’s a fan of nearly anything written by the Brontë sisters, particularly Jane Eyre. And her all-time favorite is Daphne du Maurier, the British romantic novelist that published stories like The Birds, Rebecca, and The Jamaica Inn that were later made into Hitchcock films.
“She was a master of suspense,” Mills told me. “She was very good at being literary but also appealed to the popular audience.”
It is these qualities that Mills says she hopes to incorporate in her work — albeit in a format that would be wildly unfamiliar to Hardy, the Brontës, or du Maurier. Last month, she began writing for Hooked, an app that publishes fictional text message conversations. (Alyssa Bereznak)
A University of Birmingham lecturer writing for Birmingham Post thinks that 'the city needs to up its recognition of female icons in its public artwork' and complains about the fact that,
The university does possess a striking work by one of Britain's greatest sculptors, Sir Jacob Epstein - a portrait bust of obstetrics professor and medical pioneer Dame Hilda Lloyd.
But, unfortunately, like a character in a Brontë novel, she's mostly kept indoors in the medical school, accessible only by prior appointment. (Chris Game)
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner has selected 22 of the best restaurants to dine at in West Yorkshire including
Emily's by De Luca Boutique
The Brontë Birthplace, 72-74 Market Street, Bradford, BD13 3HF
This little place is well worth a visit if you are after an alternative setting, set in the birthplace of the Brontë Sisters, this restaurant offers award-winning botanically brewed vintage cordials together with fine foods. And is rated at an astonishing 5 star average on TripAdvisor by diners. (Arash Bahrami)
TravelWeekly (Australia) reports that,
[VisitBritain strategy director, Patricia Yates] strongly recommends Australians visit the Brontes’ Yorkshire or head to Edinburgh for the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter.
HarpersBazaar (Spain) has an article on the importance of all Brontë sisters (with several half-truths and inaccuracies). Jane Eyre is one of the five books every girl should read according to El Mexicano. Onedio (Turkey) features the Brontës. I Lay Reading posts about Wuthering Heights.

Finally, the Brontë Parsonage Museum website has shared the full conversation between Sally Wainwright and Ann Dinsdale which took place at Ilkley Literature Festival. Absolutely worth a listen (or two)!

12:31 am by M. in ,    No comments
Another alert for today, April 28. At the Doncaster Heritage Festival:
The Brontës of Haworth
Fri 28 April
10.30am – 11.30am
Doncaster Central Library, Meeting Room 1, DN1 3JE

After the recent BBC drama, ‘To Walk Invisible’ hear Helen Cox give an overview of the lives and work of one of Britain’s most famous, and tragic, literary families.
Cost: £3. Tickets can be purchased from the Central Library. Please call 01302 734307 or email
A Parsonage Unwrapped alert from the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
Brontë 200: Parsonage Unwrapped
Branwell Brontë and His Artistic Circle
April 28, 7:30 PM

It was once believed that Branwell Brontë made a trip to London to apply to attend the Royal Academy School. Instead he found himself trying to make a living out of painting portraits of the more prosperous residents of Haworth and Bradford. Jane Sellars, co-author of The Art of the Brontës and former Director of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, looks at Branwell’s provincial art career in Yorkshire and compares it with life in the artistic circles of London to which he aspired.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017 11:29 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
The Bucks Herald has a video interview with resident director Hannah Drake about bringing Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre to life on stage. ITV News shares the tour dates and places. Laura Wadey reviews the production as seen at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.

Several sites continue finding Brontë connections in the new film Lady Macbeth. The Irish Times highlights the fact that,
As with Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights, William Oldroyd’s bold film utilises a racially diverse cast. (Tara Brady)
The Independent describes main character Katherine as
defiant, wilful, carnal – and with a capacity for plotting and subterfuge that makes her at times seem more like Myra Hindley than the Jane Eyre archetype she first appeared to be. (Geoffrey Macnab)
Ara (in Catalan) describes the film as follows:
un film eròtic de baixes passions desfermades en què la fredor expositiva provoca incomoditat, potser unes dècimes de febre i tot, en l’espectador (i aquí és on compateixen alcova les germanes Brontë amb Paul Verhoeven i D.H. Lawrence amb Roman Polanski). (Translation)
More film reviews with Brontë connections, as Stuff (New Zealand) highlights a scene from Mal de pierres:
Cotillard, all female glow and threadbare frocks, with the sun perpetually silhouetting her legs, is reintroduced to the screen as the eldest daughter of the farm's owners. We learn that she has some sort cinematic womanly-hysteria by her habit of waving her body double's bits and pieces at the camera and trying to seduce one of her teachers while licking – yes, licking – a copy of Wuthering Heights. (Graeme Tuckett)
The Hollywood Reporter has interviewed Bruce Miller, producer of TV series The Handmaid's Tale.
Why was Ofglen named Emily? Is there significance to Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) — one of the "moral compasses" in this world — using her name in that final scene?She wasn’t Ofglen anymore. We had a bit of a naming problem. Try writing a story where everybody’s name changes every time they get assigned to a new house, it’s insane! We were addressing that problem with Aunt Lydia. In terms of naming her Emily, for me it was after Emily Bronte. I liked the name and I’ve always liked how fiery Emily Bronte was. But mostly we name characters by looking through our high school yearbooks. Putting more into names is often a fool’s errand for writers in television. (Amber Dowling)
Rodrigo Fresán continues promoting his new book La parte soñada. He speaks about his influences on La ventana.
“Los referentes y los héroes célebres que tiene el libro, que pueden ser (Vladimir) Nabokov, Emily Brontë y Bob Dylan en este, o (Francis Scott) Fitzgerald en el anterior, son escritores que trabajaron muy bien la reescritura de sí mismos para convertirse en personajes de sí mismos; algo muy tentador y riesgoso que a veces no sale mal literariamente, pero sale muy mal existencialmente, como en el caso de (Jack) Kerouac, (Ernest) Hemingway o Fitzgerald, que terminaron casi aniquilados por sus propios mitos. Nabokov y Brontë son dos extremos absolutos de una misma conducta: una es completamente salvaje, intuitiva y loca, y el otro es como una especie de científico total, muy cerebral. Eran dos genios, cada uno a su manera”. (Silvina Friera) (Translation)
The Spectator wonders when the expression 'plain Jane' was born.
There were precedents for plain Janes. Jane Eyre saw herself in the mirror as: ‘Portrait of a governess disconnected, poor, and plain.’ Mr Rochester is of the same mind: ‘You — poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are — I entreat to accept me as a husband.’ But then, the author makes plainness and plain speaking things to be proud of. (Dot Wordsworth)
In The Times, Tanya Gold discusses 'Instagram, bridezillas and an age of fantasy weddings' and regales us with one of her Brontë mentions.
I once spent a weekend walking round a wedding fair in the Midlands, and everyone was dressed as Charlotte Brontë without the tuberculosis. In their search for absolute individuality, every bride looked the same. It was very weird.
Charlotte Brontë didn't have TB, though.

Cherwell has an article on TV series Better Call Saul (a spin-off of Breaking Bad) and mentions Wide Sargasso Sea among other famous spin-offs.
We read in several media, like The Hollywood Reporter, about the dead of the actress Batman 1966) and some 50's low budget movies like Target Earth 1954.

Kathleen Crowley (1929-2017). She was a constant presence in the US TV shows of the fifties and sixties (maybe she is best remembered as Sophia Starr in

One of her very first roles in TV was an adaptation of Jane Eyre in 1951:
Kraft Television Theatre
Jane Eyre
28 February 1951, 9.00
Producer: Stanley Quinn
Director: Dick Dunlap
With Kathlenn Crowley, John Baragrey, Peggy Nelson, Amy Douglas, John Stephen, Shirley Dale Moore, Rhoderick Walker, Alan Shayne, Rica Martens.
In It Came from Horrorwood: Interviews with Moviemakers in the SF and Horror, she said about the production:
These were the days of live television from New York; there was Kraft Television Theatre where I did Jane Eyre with John Baragray as Rochester, all very important things, etc.
The budget was so small [she is talking about Target Earth], one of the sets started to fall one time! That happened to me on live television, on Jane Eyre, which was horrible.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
A new ballet production of Wuthering Heights opens today in Charlotte, NC:
Charlotte Ballet presents
Wuthering Heights
Choreography and Direction by Sasha Janes
Costume Design by Sasha and Jennifer Janes
April 27-29, 2017 | Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts

Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë’s literary masterpiece, is a passionate story of love and revenge boldly adapted into a ballet by Associate Artistic Director Sasha Janes. Called “king of the pas de deux,” Sasha has a reputation for creating ballets that leave the audience as breathless as the dancers. Wuthering Heights tells the story of the unfortunate lovers Heathcliff and Catherine who, despite a deep affection for one another, are forced to live apart by circumstance and prejudice. With Sasha’s intricate choreography and unique storytelling style, he’ll transport you to the 1700s. Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s final season comes to an end similar to where he began. Wuthering Heights opens with a performance of contemporary choreographer Alonzo King’s MAP, the first ballet Jean-Pierre commissioned for the company 20 years ago.
On the Charlotte Ballet website you can find more information, an interview with Chelsea Dumas (Catherine in this production), costume sketches...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:58 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
Nell Stevens, who will publish a book called Mrs Gaskell and Me next year, writes in The Guardian in praise of Elizabeth Gaskell and her defence of Charlotte Brontë.
Here are some reasons to hate Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Brontë: it is moralistic and stultifying; it flattens Brontë’s brilliantly transgressive nature and confines her to a saccharine version of Victorian female victimhood. It is inaccurate, overemotional and, at times, libellous towards those she accused of attacking her good friend. You might also criticise Gaskell’s motivations: driven by opportunistic ambition to feed, vulture-like, on the carcass of Brontë’s reputation, rather than a true desire to investigate or memorialise.
You wouldn’t be the first to say so. Ever since its publication in 1857, Gaskell’s biography has been snarked at for its sins and failings. But there are reasons to cherish it, too: it is a loving defence of the value and power of women’s writing; a biography of a woman was revolutionary at that time; and it is a testament to the constraints placed on female writers and the ways they have found to move beyond them. [...]
The idea that Brontë was, in the words of one article, “a filthy minx” seems to us irrelevant now (if luridly exciting). But if people don’t read your books because they think you’re a whore, that is not exciting at all. Even Dickens’s reputation was hurt when he separated from his wife; imagine what a similar tenor of gossip did to the career and immediate legacy of a woman without Dickens’s connections, resources or privileges.
Enter Mrs Gaskell, who knew how the game was played. [...]
Gaskell was moved and disconcerted by Jane Eyre, and characteristically intrigued to learn the identity of its author (“She’s a she!” Gaskell crowed, on discovering the real name of author Currer Bell). Gaskell wrote of how much she liked Brontë after they first met, though “she and I quarrelled and differed about almost everything – she calls me a democrat and can not bear Tennyson”.
Their experiences of life and writing were vastly different: Brontë shy and isolated, surrounded by death and poems, a view of a graveyard and the moors from her windows; Gaskell extroverted and busy, scribbling in snatched moments, bouncing noisily between Manchester, London and Paris with her gaggle of daughters in tow. But what the two women shared was fundamental: they were writers. In Haworth, they walked together for hours, and “like the moors”, Mrs Gaskell felt, “our talk might be extended in any direction without getting to the end of any subject”.
Mrs Gaskell could be conventional – she once wrote a fan letter to George Eliot with the caveat that she wished she could have addressed it to a “Mrs” instead of a “Miss”. In other ways, she was a radical. Ambitious, literary, political, Gaskell stuck up for herself, and when Brontë died, she stuck up for her, too. In the face of snide gossip about Brontë’s moral character, she wrote a book that rehabilitated her friend as a devoted daughter and sister and, eventually, wife; a phenomenal talent who led a respectable life.
Brontë would have recognised this approach, having herself handled the post-mortem reputation management of her sisters. She took it upon herself to “improve” Emily’s poems in a posthumous edition, and thought it not “desirable to preserve” Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. She almost certainly destroyed Emily’s second novel-in-progress, arguing that “an interpreter ought always to have stood between her and the world”. No wonder, then, that Gaskell tried to perform the same service. She was Brontë’s interpreter, a protector against the insults hurled at her after her death.
Today, it is easier for us to detest gossipy, moralising Mrs Gaskell than Brontë for her love life. But both are stalwarts against the maddening, exhausting criticisms of female writers: they couldn’t write, shouldn’t write. And 160 years later, The Life of Charlotte Brontë is a twin portrait of two women who knew that women can’t write, mustn’t write, but could, and did.
And now for the Brontës on stage:

The Yorkshire Post reviews Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre as seen at Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield:
It must be daunting to be tasked with adapting a classic novel that is as adored as Jane Eyre.
There have been countless stage and screen versions of Charlotte Brontë’s literary masterpiece but director/adapter Sally Cookson’s must surely be one of the best.
The trick, it seems, is to be fearless – not overly reverential with the material and absolutely commited to being true to the medium in which the story is being presented. Cookson’s credentials in this regard are impeccable – a highly skilled director and theatre-maker she knows exactly how to make a story leap into life on stage. The National Theatre production was a huge success at the Lytellton in 2015 and is now on a UK tour that takes in several dates in Yorkshire.
As a piece of theatre it is perfect – inventive, imaginative, totally compelling. Employing exciting physicality and live music on a versatile multi-level set, while at the same time giving due prominence to Brontë’s fine original dialogue, it is rivetting from start to finish. There are some ‘almost-forgot-to-breathe’ moments and at no point does its three hour running time feel too long. The script places right at its centre Jane’s life story, never allowing it to become secondary to the love story between a governess and her employer. Having said that there is a great zingy chemistry between Nadia Clifford as Jane and Tim Delap as Rochester which ensures the audience is always rooting for their happy ending.
Clifford absolutely inhabits the role – her ‘poor, obscure, plain and little’ Jane is a feisty bundle of energy and Delap delivers a refreshing take on the traditionally ‘brooding’ hero – laconic and world-weary yet vulnerable and tender. The three-piece onstage band provide fine accompaniment by turns poignant, atmospheric, jaunty and Melanie Marshall, as Bertha Mason lends her beautiful singing voice to the storytelling, including a a stand-out rendition of Mad About the Boy. The rest of the highly talented ensemble cast play multiple roles with great flair, nailing each characterisation with aplomb. And as a team they work together brilliantly – a hilarious rendering of a bumpy stagecoach ride is a prime example.
An unmissable treat. (Yvette Huddleston)
The Reviews Hub gives 4 out of 5 stars to the production as seen at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre and sums it up as 'Fresh, Vital and Vivid'.
As Jane, Nadia Clifford progresses from young child to strong woman impressively, combining her steely strength with an obstinate streak and impassioned concern that always feel genuine. Tim Delap’s Rochester is similarly layered, initially gruff and aloof, but with his relationship with his dog, Pilot (played humorously in a scene-stealing performance by Paul Mundell) showing the compassion within.
The chapters of Jane’s life before her arrival at Thornfield, from the orphan’s housing with her cruel aunt and callous cousins to her schooling at Lowood and progression to teacher and governess, can seem as if being ticked off a list prior to the heroine’s first meeting with Rochester. It is a testament to Clifford, and the cast around her, that instead we see a progression from childhood to womanhood.
And a big part of that growth is the role of Bertha Mason, Rochester’s first wife and the original “mad woman in the attic”. Rather than being revealed at the end of the piece, Melanie Marshall’s Bertha is omnipresent, singing folk songs, contemporary pop numbers and arias that comment on and illuminate elements of Jane’s life. Recasting Bertha as an alter ego to Jane in this way removes some of the mystery surrounding events at Thornfield, to be sure, but it also grants the character a grace and tragedy that enriches the overall piece.
At a shade over three hours, Jane Eyre is one of the longer productions currently on tour in the UK. But it feels exquisitely paced, illuminating Charlotte Brontë’s tale in ways that feel fresh, vital and vivid. (Scott Matthewman)
The Bucks Herald reviews the production at the same venue.
Given the numerous locales and different time periods that the story is set in as well as the epic scale of the story, it is some achievement to pull off all of this. But to do with essentially one set and a handful of actors speak volumes for the quality of this production.
But the set by Michael Vale is ingenious, based on several different levels. Striking enough on its own but when all the production elements come together, it effortlessly transforms from all of the locations.
There is also a lot to admire in the acting as aside from Nadia Clifford in the title role and Tim Delap as Rochester, everyone else plays multiple characters and portray them very well. There is a lot to like about Clifford as Jane Eyre, especially as she plays the character through childhood and adulthood.
The other thing to mention is the music, played live and creating the perfect atmosphere for the show. Perhaps surprisingly as well, music is used and there are plenty of modern and recognisable tunes for people to spot. This comes to prominence during the show's climatic sequences and Melanie Marshall as the singer has a stunning voice.
Confession time, I am not a massive fan of the story or Victorian period drama generally and while this production didn't change my view of the story too much, I was thoroughly impressed with the production and suspect that there will be a lot for fans of the book and newcomers to the story to admire. (Steve Mills)
The Yorkshire Post has Deborah McAndrew tell how she adapted The Tenant of Wildfell Hall for the stage. The production opens tonight at York Theatre Royal.
The opportunity to adapt a Brontë novel appealed to McAndrew, as did the chance of working with director Elizabeth Newman again with whom she had previously collaborated on a Bolton Octagon production of David Copperfield. When Newman rang her two years ago to suggest they work on The Tenant of Wildfell Hall together, McAndrew was delighted. “Having grown up in Yorkshire, the Brontës are in my DNA,” she says. “I read Charlotte’s novels and Emily’s Wuthering Heights very early but I didn’t come to Anne’s work until a bit later when I was in my twenties.” She says she remembers reading Anne’s first novel Agnes Grey and being impressed by how impassioned it was. “She was very angry about a lot of things to do with the situation of women and particularly impoverished educated women – a lot of it was based on her own experiences as a governess – and she revisits those arguments in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”. One of the most remarkable things about the novel is the way in which Brontë communicates her forthright views on gender equality and self-determination novel while maintaining the reader’s interest through its totally compelling narrative arc. “Although it is very radical and feminist and an exceptional achievement for a woman of Anne’s class and experience, at the same time it is a romantic novel,” says McAndrew. “And it is quite conventional in many ways, but I think that is its strength. It is not dry and it’s full of complex, well-rounded characters. She didn’t write a political pamphlet, she wrote a story.” The challenge for McAndrew, then, was to incorporate all those elements into her adaptation and make the story work as an engaging piece of theatre. “You have to sort of swallow the novel whole and then bring it back out on stage,” she says. “ I have to think about what works for a modern audience – if they are going to be interested and engaged I have to hook them in and keep them but I have obeyed Anne’s structure. so throughout the first Act we don’t know who Helen is and Gilbert’s obsession with her grows. That is great for audiences who don’t know the book as they get drawn in. I have used my own box of tricks as a dramatist, so I’ve built the tension and the curiosity around her.” Some characters have been cut, which is often necessary as large casts are generally unfeasible, and other technical aspects – such as editing long speeches and extending short scenes – have to be taken into consideration in order to make it work on stage. That is McAndrew’s craft and she is happy with the end result. “It feels like it exists in its own right as a play, it doesn’t feel like a novel on stage. ” Spending time with the book and bringing it to life for a theatre-going audience has been “a privilege” says McAndrew. “It’s been a real labour of love. I grew up with the Brontës – not only their books but as women writers they were always going to be a great inspiration for me.” (Yvette Huddleston)
Dorset Echo reviews We Are Brontë currently on stage at the Corn Exchange, Dorchester.
Sound effects paint a picture of bleak winds in a mysterious landscape which means we must be in Yorkshire moorland country where the Bronte family lived.
Right, that’s all the miserable part of the story taken care of, from now on we can enjoy the capers of a pair of actors as they enact a weird and wonderful picture of some aspects of the literary siblings lives while at the same time poking relentless fun at the gothic horror genre.
Physical comedy takes on a whole new image with this crazy couple as they explore a large house, do the washing, replicate a Heathcliff love scene and even bring Kate Bush into the scenario.
Funny and imaginative, the aim is not so much to explore the Bronte family history and novels as to take a witty and clever look at how we see their troubled lives with it ranging from hardship, hope and family tragedy.
With little in the way of dialogue or scenery, actors Sarah Corbett and Angus Barr make the most of a collection of props as they turn the tables on serious dramatic biographies and bring laughter into a madcap scenario that at times has echoes of the best of Father Ted. (Marion Cox)
Bustle recommends '9 Classics Every 20-Something Needs To Read (If You Haven't Already)' including
4 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Brontë
Yeah, yeah, you probably already know about the "secret attic wife" reveal, and yes, Mr. Rochester and Jane don't exactly model the healthiest of relationships. But Jane Eyre still holds up as one of the greatest coming-of-age stories of all time: a young woman (and a deeply entertaining narrator) learns confidence and self-reliance, and only returns to her boyfriend once she's figured herself out. (Charlotte Ahlin)
Similarly, Verily Magazine lists '4 ways [in which] Jane Eyre speaks to the modern woman': resilience, sense of direction, integrity and hope.

BookBub Blog recommends Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair to fans of Terry Pratchett's Discworld. The Brussels Brontë Blog looks at Lewis Carroll's own copy of Villette.
The second Tenant proposal is the York premiere of the Deborah McAndrew adaptation previously seen in Bolton:
York Theatre Royal and Octagon Theatre Bolton present
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Writer: Anne Brontë
Adapted by: Deborah McAndrew
Directed by: Elizabeth Newman
Set & Costume Design: Amanda Stoodley
Lighting Designed by: Johanna Town
Movement & Associate Director: Lesley Hutchinson
Sound Designed by: Ben Occhipinti
Cast: Michael Peavoy, Susan Twist, Philip Starnier, Natasha Davidson, Phoebe Pryce, Nicôle Lecky, Marc Small, Colin Connor

York Theatre Royal
Wed 26 Apr - Sat 06 May
Time: 7.30pm, matinees 2pm Thursday & 2.30pm Saturday

In 19th century Yorkshire, a mysterious young widow Helen Graham and her son arrive at the desolate estate of Wildfell Hall. Isolating herself from the village, she soon becomes the subject of local gossip and speculation. Intrigued by this beautiful and enigmatic woman, a young, local farmer, Markham, gradually falls in love. Torn apart by her attraction to Markham and the secrets of her past, Helen finally reveals the shocking history she thought she'd left behind.
Based on the 1848 novel by Anne Brontë The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a passionate story of a woman's fight for independence. This new stage adaptation has been lovingly brought to life by award winning playwright Deborah McAndrew, author of An August Bank Holiday Lark (Best New Play, UK Theatre Awards, 2014).

Two Tenant proposals open today, April 26. The first one is a curious experiment:
Concert Theatre presents
The Tenant
Based on Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and music from Mozart, Scriabin and Brahms.
Music performance and theatre company, Concert Theatre, bring to life Anne Brontë’s groundbreaking work The Tenant of Wildfell Hall with a woman’s valiant struggle for independence and creative freedom. In an innovative hybrid concert-theatre form, a live pianist and two actors tell the moving story through music and speech in a modern gallery setting.

With An-Ting Chang (Director) and Diana Brekalo (Pianist)

Scriabin’s perplexed harmony introduces the mysterious tenant settling at the Wildfell Hall. The protagonist’s innocent youth is narrated colourfully with Mozart’s music. The violin sonata is played by the piano with the actor as a duet between the piano sound and spoken English. Still overlapping with Mozart, however, Brahms’ Rhapsody changes the tune of life to the unfortunate marriage.
Music and drama collide to offer new perspectives on Brontë’s radical feminist text through three composer’s works; Scriabin’s 24 Preludes, Mozart’s Violin Sonata No. 26 and Brahms’ Rhapsody.

26-27 April: Kings Weston House (Bristol), 1:30 pm*, 7:30 pm
28 April: National Portrait Gallery (London), 6:30 pm
30 April: Drill Hall (Chepstow), 7:30 pm
23 May: Bury St Edmunds Festival , 7:30 pm
24 May: Sarum College (Salisbury), 7:30 pm
25 May: Holburne Museum (Bath), 7:30 pm
*Matinee on 27 April at 1:30 pm in addition to evening performances.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 10:50 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
Urban Milwaukee features the Milwaukee Repertory Theater's production of Jane Eyre, which opens tonight.
Sanchez jumped at the chance to direct the dramatic adaptation of the novel. “I said yes before reading the script. It was my favorite book when I was a kid.” [...]
“It’s a play about a young woman who suppresses her passionate nature in order to survive in an oppressive society,” Sanchez says. “She learns that to truly live requires equal parts passion and reason.”
Sanchez says the story speaks as much to men as women. “Jane and Mr. Rochester share similar character traits–they don’t fit into their time and place. Both are incredibly honest and neither have a filter regarding what they say. Neither know how to be political, charming, or sugarcoat anything. Everything is couched in absolute honesty.”[...]
Both Rochester and Jane are beaten up emotionally and neither feels they deserve to be loved.
“They’re on opposite sides of the spectrum,” Sanchez says. “One faces wealth and one faces poverty, but both are suffering. At the heart of a lot of questions today is how we judge women. How do we treat a woman that is anything less than perfect? Is she held by different standards? I don’t really see Jane as a feminist as much as a survivor.” [...]
While Jane Eyre is being played by an African American woman, Sanchez says it was not a conscious effort to do so.
“It’s really a commitment I have to casting in general,” Sanchez says. “I wanted this role to be universal. I wanted to audition Japanese women, Latino women, African American women. I requested a diverse acting pool. It didn’t matter to me. I’m dedicating my career to help remind us they’re actors, not people. When I watch Tartuffe, I realize it’s a character, and I don’t get muddled in not believing it’s an 18th century French guy. Jane Eyre isn’t a certain physical type or race. ‘Jane’ doesn’t exist. It’s not like you’re doing a play about Albert Einstein where you’d cast an actor that resembles Albert Einstein. I’m more interested in what’s behind the character.” (Jim Cryns)
Journal Sentinel recommends it too.

Beware of spoilers in this article on the series finale of Bates Motel on A.V. Club. The title of the episode was The Cord.
“There’s a cord between our hearts,” Norman said in the first episode, a sentiment played back to him repeatedly over the seasons. It’s a fitting title for the finale, too, as it works both as commentary and emotional bond. As Norma pointed out when Norman first said it to her, it’s a line stolen from Jane Eyre, and repurposed for the Bates family dynamic. Which is exactly what defined Bates Motel—it’s a show borrowed from a famous movie, a prequel story that takes the previous narrative’s basic contours and enriches them, turning fleeting tics in whole lives, and briefly referenced souls into living, breathing people. And like that Brontë-derived saying, it gives new meaning and depth to something that was the domain of another world entirely. Not only that, but it made this world its own, a world where Emma Decody could finally breathe, and everyone who watched could see events play out just as they should. (Alex McLevy)
A couple of reviews of the film Lady Macbeth mention the Brontës. According to Empire,
 the clearest influence on theatre director William Oldroyd’s feature debut is Andrea Arnold’s sombre 2011 take on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, which explored the historical British attitudes to gender, class and race that persist today. (David Parkinson)
El Periódico (Spain) focuses on the moors shown in the film:
La cámara, sin embargo, sí viaja por los bastos exteriores, rodados entre New Castle y Durham, cerca de los páramos ingleses que inspiraron novelas como "Jane Eyre" o "Cumbres borrascosas" -de las hermanas Emily y Charlotte Brönte [sic]- en esta "Lady Macbeth" que difiere bastante del relato primigenio. (Pepi Cardenete) (Translation)
SciFiNow interviews Aliette De Bodard about her book The House Of Binding Thorns.
Were there any specific inspirations for this? For The House Of Binding Thorns specifically? I wanted to take some of the staples of Gothic fiction and give them a different slant: you have the arranged marriage, the perilous pregnancy, the grand and decaying mansion with a terrible history, the isolated households (or in this case, House and kingdom) who don’t understand each other… A lot of Gothic fiction doesn’t really have “foreign” elements though, or if they do it’s very often used with negative connotations (think of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, who has Roma blood and is described as looking like a Lascar). I wanted to break that particular problematic stereotype by having a diverse Paris, and a strong Vietnamese presence in the book. (Jonathan Hatfull)
Glamour (France) claims that the Brontës are not the grandmothers of chicklit as many (arguably) claim, but of chick noir.
De la même manière qu’on s’accorde à dire que Jane Austen est la pionnière de la chick lit, sans qui Bridget Jones ou Sarah Jessica Parker n’existeraient pas, des écrivaines comme les sœurs Brontë (de Jane Eyre aux Hauts de Hurlevent) ou Daphné du Maurier (Rebecca, premier grand bestseller du genre ?) ont, elles aussi, cultivé le jardin de la chick noir bien avant le XXIe siècle. (Translation)
Self-Publishing Review has an article on the Brontës as 'self-publishing pioneers'.
12:32 am by M. in ,    No comments
A new production of Wuthering Heights opens today, April 25, in Genève, Switzerland:
Les Hauts de Hurlevent
by Emily Brontë
Adaptation et mise en scène Camille Giacobino
Collaboration artistique et dramaturgie C Laure Hirsig
Univers sonore Graham Broomfield Lumières Jean-Philippe Roy
Costumes Nathalie Egea Maquillages Arnaud Buchs
Jeu Cédric Dorier, Camille Figuereo, Léonie Keller, Clémence Mermet, Guillaume Prin, Raphaël Vachoux

25 April - 14 May, 2017
Théâtre du Grütli
16, Rue Général-Dufour 1204 Genève
Ce spectacle a lieu dans la salle du sous-sol
Ce spectacle est proposé en audiodescription le 7 et le 9 mai
Samedi 6 mai 2017, après la représentation Bord de scène Sur le théâtre des romans
Mardi, jeudi, samedi à 19h
Mercredi et vendredi à 20h
Dimanche à 18h
Relâche le lundi

Les Hauts de Hurlevent, récit d’un amour inouï dont les foudres contrariées vont s’abattre sur deux générations, puise sa fougue dans les p
aysages sauvages des landes du Yorkshire. Heathcliff est recueilli par Earnshaw qui l’élève comme son fils. Il grandit à Hurlevent, dans la haine de Hindley, le fils du maître, auquel s’oppose l’amour de Catherine, la soeur de ce dernier. Né dans le tumulte de l’enfance, l’amour qui lie Heathcliff et Catherine surgit là où rien ne le précède, et là où rien ne pourra jamais lui succéder… A la mort de Earnshaw, Heathcliff est martyrisé par Hindley et Catherine, en dépit de son amour pour le réprouvé, épouse le noble Edgar Linton. Dévasté par cette trahison, Heathcliff s’exile et revient habité par un impitoyable désir de vengeance. La plume impudique d’Emily Brontë fait un écho percutant à l’univers charnel et sensoriel de Camille Giacobino.