Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Untitled Brontë Project

Well, breaking news aside, there are a few more things to report today.

The Telegraph and Argus reviews Northern Ballet's Wuthering Heights on stage at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford until Saturday.

Lust, rage, betrayal, jealousy, revenge – and Heathcliff in tights. A night at the theatre doesn’t get much better than that.
Northern Ballet Theatre’s 40th anniversary celebrations continue with the company’s acclaimed version of Emily Bronte’s masterpiece.
With a striking set and passionate, beautifully choreographed performances set to composer Claude-Michel Schonberg’s dramatic score, this is the kind of ballet you can lose yourself in for a couple of hours. It’s a traditional re-telling of the classic love story, blending romantic tragedy with edgy drama.
The simple set, bringing to life the haunting beauty of the Yorkshire landscape, had a natural feel, comprising largely of twisted branches and golden autumn leaves, with falling snow and forked lightning. The set blended seamlessly from bleak moorland to dark scenes at Wuthering Heights to the Lintons’ elegant country house.
I would’ve preferred a more Gothic-looking house for the Heights, instead of what resembled a dormer bungalow, but overall the simplicity worked well.
The fabulous performances drew gasps from the audience. Christopher Hinton-Lewis was a splendid Heathcliff, from a spirited youth to a dangerous player to a broken man, consumed with grief. And Martha Leebolt, looking like a young Julia Roberts, was a wonderful, feisty Cathy. Great performances too from Hironao Takahgashi as nice-but-dull Edgar and Hannah Bateman as girlish Isabella.
The dance sequences were beautifully synchronised, with some striking lifts. Little was left to the imagination with the sexually charged pas de deux during which Heathcliff seduces Isabella with a horse-whip.
The first part of the story literally rolled into the next, with the young Cathy and Heathcliff rolling off stage as their older selves rolled on. Particularly effective was the presence of the children watching on as the drama unfolded.
A lovely interpretation of a classic story, performed with passion just a few miles from where it was written.
Runs until Saturday. (Emma Clayton)
The Hollywood Reporter hints at an intriguing Brontë project.
Murphy, Downey and Taylor are also developing an "Untitled Bronte Project" movie about the relationships between the four Bronte children and Angria the miniature fictional children's world that they created under the MASS Productions banner. (Stuart Kemp)
We hope it will see the light, as it sounds quite original.

And you would think that the stereotypical image of Haworth is that of a rough, god-forsaken place. But not everyone agrees, as seen in the Nottingham Evening Post.
It seems odd that, among all the heritage, arts and university funds floating around the country, none seem able to make a contribution towards its preservation. Eastwood may lack the pretty chintzy tea-room qualities of the native villages of Miss Austen and the Brontes, but probably many more of us can trace our family origins to terrace houses not dissimilar from [D.H.] Lawrence's. (Jennifer Scott)
Despite the article saying 'native village' we take it to mean Haworth, not Thornton, as the Brontës' birthplace hasn't received a penny (particularly now that it is in private hands). And although readers who have been to Haworth will know not to take Elizabeth Gaskell (or even Charlotte Brontë herself) very seriously when she described Haworth as a grim place, it serves to point out how far the place actually was from having 'pretty chintzy tea-room qualities'.
In a town one does not look for vivid colouring; what there may be of this is furnished by the wares in the shops, not by foliage or atmospheric effects; but in the country some brilliancy and vividness seems to be instinctively expected, and there is consequently a slight feeling of disappointment at the grey neutral tint of every object, near or far off, on the way from Keighley to Haworth. The distance is about four miles; and, as I have said, what with villas, great worsted factories, rows of workmen's houses, with here and there an old-fashioned farm-house and outbuildings, it can hardly be called" country" any part of the way. For two miles the road passes over tolerably level ground, distant hills on the left, a "beck" flowing through meadows on the right, and furnishing water power, at certain points, to the factories built on its banks. The air is dim and lightless with the smoke from all these habitations and places of business. The soil in the valley (or bottom,' to use the local term) is rich; but, as the road begins to ascend, the vegetation becomes poorer; it does not flourish, it merely exists; and, instead of trees, there are only bushes and shrubs about the dwellings. Stone dykes are everywhere used in place of hedges; and what crops there are, on the patches of arable land, consist of pale, hungry-looking, grey-green oats. Right before the traveller on this road rises Haworth village; he can see it for two miles before he arrives, for it is situated on the side of a pretty steep hill, with a background of dun and purple moors, rising and sweeping away yet higher than the church, which is built at the very summit of the long narrow street. All round the horizon there is this same line of sinuous wave-like hills; the scoops into which they fall only revealing other hills beyond, of similar colour and shape, crowned with wild, bleak moors - grand, from the ideas of solitude and loneliness which they suggest, or oppressive from the feeling which they give of being pent-up by some monotonous and illimitable barrier, according to the mood of mind in which the spectator may be. (Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, ch. I)
Minnesota Reads describes author Rachel Coyne as follows:
She is a devotee of Pablo Neruda, a lover of Don Williams songs and a collector of vintage editions of Jane Eyre. (Jodi Chromey)
And we are puzzled by this Wuthering Heights mention in Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Athletes can discover enough to be bored about during the course of a day without having to act the part of a monk when scoring a touchdown for fear of penalty.
If they can't, most will eventually be assigned to read "Wuthering Heights," anyway. (Ed Graney)
Is that good or bad?

Be Literature posts about Wuthering Heights in Spanish and Flickr user Paul in Leeds has uploaded a few stunning images of Top Withens.

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Re: Las Vegas Review-Journal comment. Count me as one Bronte fan who will go to great lengths to avoid reading either Shirley or Wuthering, as punishment. Once (shirlley) or twice (wuthering) was QUITE enough.

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