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So much has been written about the Brontës, you might wonder what could be said about them that hasn’t been said before.Also today there are more reviews of the Mustard Seed Theatre production of Jane Eyre, adapted by Julie Beckman. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
But in considering the family and their work within the social and historic context of Haworth, and exploring how the village came to be a world-famous literary shrine, Ann Dinsdale presents a thorough, comprehensive account of the Brontës and the people and places that shaped them.
In The Brontës of Haworth [sic], Ann – librarian at the Brontë Parsonage Museum – traces the story of each family member, explores their novels and poetry, and presents a detailed picture of Haworth in the mid-19th century.
The book is beautifully illustrated with rarely-seen images from the Haworth archives, including drawings by Charlotte and Emily, and haunting pictures by photographer Simon Warner.
While Ann creates a vivid picture of 19th century Haworth, she doesn’t romanticise the place. [...]
She takes the reader to Haworth’s cluster of pubs, including the Black Bull, frequented by Branwell Brontë, and up the narrow lane at the top of Main Street, climbing past the church and Sunday school, leading to the Parsonage, “virtually the last house in Haworth before the open moors”.
She goes on to trace life beyond the Brontës; examining the legacy of their writing and developments leading to the establishment of the Brontë Parsonage Museum. (Emma Baylis)
“Jane Eyre” is an extremely influential novel, a novel that has fascinated readers (and other writers) ever since Charlotte Brontë published it in 1847.From the Riverfront Times:
The strangest thing about the stage version that just opened at Mustard Seed Theatre is that the adapter, Julie Beckman, seems determined to make sure the theater audience remembers that the novel came first.
Was there any danger we would not?
Nevertheless, Beckman is on guard, lacing her script with loads of narration. Most curiously, the characters often narrate themselves.
For example, when Richard Lewis, playing a cruel schoolmaster, stands on a platform sneering at his charges, he says, “He majestically surveyed the whole school.” Lewis handles the line with aplomb, but this kind of self-commentary never lets up.
Yes, that gives us the feeling of reading. Whether we want the feeling of reading when we are in the theater is another question.
But once you get used to it, the technique is less intrusive than it may look in print, and director Deanna Jent has assembled an experienced cast of actors who are up to Beckman’s unusual approach.
Best of all, she gives us leads worthy of their famous roles. Sarah Godefroid-Cannon is superb as Jane Eyre, incorporating not only her celebrated honesty but the elfin quality that Edward Rochester spies in her at once (and that no one else seems to notice). (Judith Newmark)
"Tenacious of life" may as well be Jane's motto. In Julie Beckman's adaption of Charlotte Brontë's novel, the heroine is a deep well of composure and resourcefulness. Sarah Cannon brings the title character to life in this Deanna Jent-directed Mustard Seed Theatre production of Jane Eyre with the requisite tenacity and a pervasive good humor that well serves both character and story.The New York Daily News' Page Views writes about the New York Antiquarian Book Fair.
Beckman's script calls for the actors to narrate their own actions, most often from Jane's point of view. So when Donna Weinsting's good-hearted Mrs. Fielding is confused by a bit of banter between Jane and Rochester, Weinsting says, "Mrs. Fielding found the conversation hard to follow," and then delivers Mrs. Fielding's lines. In the early going, this seems an overly passive way of relaying the story, particularly when Jane must narrate her own inner thoughts at length while passing from foster home to school. But once the story expands to include the glittering world of Rochester's manor house and his social circle, the method yields stronger results, as several of Rochester's peers are revealed to be strangely barren of thought. This underscores the superficial world Rochester inhabits, and the bubbling spring of thought and feeling Jane brings to his life.
Shaun Sheley is a worthy Rochester to Cannon's Jane. He's brooding and withdrawn when she arrives, a lonely intellect surrounded by empty conversation. (Paul Friswold)
That’s not to say my time at the fair was a disappointment, though; I’d seen things I had never seen before, and will never see again. There was [...] A copy of “Wuthering Heights” was mislabeled as being “By the author of 'Jane Eyre.'" (Jeva Lange)Stephenie Meyer comments once again on her love for Jane Eyre in Le Parisien and writer Leigh Evans - interviewed by Female First - picks it as one of her favourite books too:
What is your favourite novel?Another Brontëite seems to be the Danish Eurovision Song Contest participant Emmelie de Forest whose new album is featured on the Eurovision Song Contest website.
Tough one. As I have the hardest time colouring inside the lines, I’m going to give you a few (in no particular order): Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë . . . (Lucy Walton)
The songs are very personal and Emmelie has been inspired by her favourite books and films including Wuthering Heights and Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, as well as by her often weird dreams, which have inspired the songs Haunted Heart and Running In My Sleep.Martin Sieff, however, who shares his memories of Margaret Thatcher in The Baltimore Post-Examiner, thinks the Iron Lady was no Brontëite:
She was a genteel middle class English lady typical of the standards and values of that particular breed over the past 200 years. One senses she and Jane Austin [sic] would have gotten on extremely well. She would have had no time for the Brontë sisters – far too tragic, unstable and plain weepy for her tastes.Greener Ideal features a farm with a wind turbine located 'against the breath-taking backdrop of the Brontë landscape'. Le petit monde d'Aniouchka writes in French about Jane Eyre. Daisy Dolls has created a Jane Eyre-inspired doll.