Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014 4:12 pm by M. in , , , , , , ,    No comments
The Peterborough Telegraph announces that Simon Egerton's The Brontës of Dunwich Heath.. and Cliff will be at the Key Theatre in Peterborough from January 28 to February 1 (dates and times):
Directed by Eastern Angles’ founder and Artistic Director, Ivan Cutting, ‘The Brontës of Dunwich Heath...and Cliff’ takes an irreverent look at the literary world of the Brontë sisters.
An alternative to the traditional Christmas panto, the production will be an off-the-wall interpretation of Brontë family life incorporating witty wordplay, quick-fire comedy and costume changes and Kate Bush inspired music.
Tuesday, 28 January - Saturday, 1st February at 7.30pm (plus a matinee at 2.30pm on Thursday and Saturday).
Another 'irreverent' take on the Brontës is A Brontë Burlesque, now performed in Edmonton, Canada and reviewed on the Edmonton Journal,
In the first scene of A Brontë Burlesque, the ghosts of English literature’s most famous sibling act flicker in front of one of them — the dying author of Jane Eyre. To the strains of Sweet Dreams Are Made of This.
The concept of a Brontë burlesque is so seductively kooky, on the surface, that this artful, dark and strangely dramatic Send In The Girls production may take you by surprise. That’s what happened to me. (...)
The Bronte sisters are a case study in repression. They were so buttoned-up in life — by time and gender — they published under male aliases. But, as the Romantic weirdness of their novels and poetry reveal, there’s tumult under the placid surfaces of 19th-century country life in a vicar’s family. It drove their brother Branwell, underachiever painter and poet, to drink and drugs. It drives Charlotte (Jane Eyre), Anne (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall), and even the reluctant Emily (Wuthering Heights) to cross the gender divide and publish their work — and in terms of this show, to get down, get sexy, and take it off.
The Brontë sisters dancing in their knickers? “It’s time for Charlotte, Anne and Emily Brontë to meet the world,” says the most forceful Charlotte, who tends to take the lead in such matters. As a metaphor for revelation, this risks sounding too obvious or literal-minded to contemporary ears to be more than cheeky. But A Brontë Burlesque is cleverly orchestrated — in the script’s weave of flashbacks, its burlesque choreography (Andrea Gilborn) that’s sometimes about uncovering and sometimes about donning articles of clothing, its anachronistic score of songs from Radiohead or Peaches (assembled by director Lana Michelle Hughes).
Hughes’s production is visually striking. Designers Tessa Stamp (set, costumes) and Matt Schuurman (video) create lovely sepia interiors — libraries, boudoirs, interactive group portraits. The lighting sources are draped chandeliers and footlights. And since A Brontë Burlesque is a haunting, shadows play on the walls, and come to life. Stamp’s costumes are a cunning, allusive mixture of corsetry and veils.
The performances are startlingly committed to the characters. Samantha Duff makes a wry, commanding Charlotte, who finds herself at the end of life racked by guilt. Delia Barnett is Anne, the tart-tongued and competitive one with a grievance. And Chorley is memorably tortured as the shy Emily, whose strange creativity conceals a terrible secret. Chris W. Cook is excellent as Branwell, whose cocky playfulness turns sour as he’s outstripped (literally and figuratively) by his sisters.
Chorley’s script, which unfolds in banter that turns to bicker, is occasionally overwritten, though in this it may be taking its cue directly from the Brontës themselves, who are no hoarders of ink. But there’s verbal wit aplenty, too. “It’s very Dickens of us,” says Charlotte, visited by the ghosts of her siblings and forced to relive crucial life moments. “Perhaps I’ll wake up and it’ll be Christmas Day.” (Liz Nicholls)
and in The Edmonton Sun:
After a splendidly gothic opening, featuring shadows, flashing lights, silhouettes, crashing thunder and strange noises, playwright Ellen Chorley gets down to telling of the tragic lives of the Brontë clan. They started off as children telling each other stories and, in a blood vow, to stay “together until we die.” (...)
Interesting stuff given a high intensity delivery by the cast, all of whom have a long list of theatrical credits. Lana Michelle Hughes’ highly stylized production is aided by her own resourceful sound design and Matt Schuurman’s inventive video effects. I particularly liked his creepy formal Victorian family portrait on the wall that keeps changing in reaction to what is happening on stage.
I’m not quite so sure about the marriage to the bump and grind. Chorley’s play is high romantic goth — the essence of heaving bosoms and dark familial passions. Burlesque is based on come-hither glances, a seductive fourth-wall breaking commitment to carnal pleasures yet to come. The actors have to make a huge reach and, in essence, change character. I know, it’s probably like in a musical where the performer is so carried away by emotion that mere words are no longer enough and they have to break into song. But to me, the transformation demands too much. The cast gives it all they’ve got (and they sure got the moves — choreography by Andrea Gilborn) although the stripping, despite their abandon on stage, remains quite discreet. (Colin MacLean)
The Globe and Mail interviews the writer Alastair MacLeod:
I always liked to read, and when I started writing seriously, I was in the United States, and I was doing a dissertation on 19th-century British novels, on Thomas Hardy. And two or three things happened there: I liked 19th-century British work, and I liked Thomas Hardy, and I liked D.H. Lawrence, and I liked Emily Brontë. And I liked the fact that they were not from fashionable places: They were not from London. Emily Brontë was too far north, Thomas Hardy was too far south.
The New York Times analyses the Thug-Notes on Classics website. One of its latest additions was Wuthering Heights:
In 1848, a reviewer for Graham’s Magazine described “Wuthering Heights” as “a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors, such as we might suppose a person, inspired by a mixture of brandy and gunpowder, might write for the edification of fifth-rate blackguards.” Presumably, this grumpy writer would have cared even less for the Thug Notes version.
That Emily Brontë novel is among the latest subjects tackled on Thug-Notes.com, a website where fine literature is reduced to its hip-hop essence. (Neil Genzlinger)
The American Prospect reviews Rebecca Lead's My Life in Middlemarch:
But it also appeals to the vanity of that “certain kind” of woman who, as Mary Gordon noted, draws immense satisfaction from her identification with Middlemarch. Few nineteenth-century heroines resonate with this woman like Dorothea Brooke. Emma Bovary and Anna Karenina are too rash; Becky Sharp too conniving; Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennett too provincial; Tess Durbeyfield too pathetic. (Amelia Thompson-Deveaux)
Flavorwire on dog lovers and writers:
Literature has its dog lovers: John Steinbeck wrote about traveling with Charlie, Virginia Woolf found comfort in dogs throughout her life, preferring mixed breeds to purebreds, and Emily Brontë was so fond of her dogs that she used to sketch pictures of them. (Jason Diamond)
The Sequoyah County Times is thrilled about the return of Downton Abbey:
Downton Abbey” began its fourth season on PBS this month making a lot of Anglophiles happy. We, the people of “Jane Eyre” and Jane Austin (sic), have long waited for the new episodes. It’s not a book, but one of its creators, Julian Fellowes, was reading “To Marry an English Lord” when he came up with Lady Cora (played by Elizabeth McGovern) who is my favorite character in the family saga. (Dee Ann Ritter)
A clever Jane Eyre reference in this Yahoo! Homes article about a Manhattan penthouse for rent:
Here's the All-Red, All-Velvet Room on Your Must-Have List
This Manhattan penthouse is no stranger to NYC real estate obsessives, as it's been glimmering on the rental market (asking a wide-eyed $25K a month), for more than a few months now. More relevantly, with an all-velvet red room to give Jane Eyre fans and former movie theater employees the wiggins, the penthouse is something to remember. (Amy Schellenbaum)
Blake Morrison writes in The Guardian about what kind of poetry and literature inspires David Hockney:
And according to his biographer, Christopher Simon Sykes, Hockney was an avid reader – "everything from Biggles to the Brontës, the local classics to Dickens".
Female First interviews the writer Catalina Dudka:
You have been a book lovers since your can remember so who are your favourite?
My favourite book of all time is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, closely followed by all the Sherlock Holmes adventures written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I have read those stories over and over again. (Interviewed by Lucy Walton)
Nicky Peacok-Author interviews yet another author, Jennifer Harlow:
If you had a time machine, what era would you like to visit and why?
I’d go meet Charlotte Brontë. I’ve been obsessed with her for years and read every biography I could find. I’d just want to meet her. See what her life was really like. So if I had a time machine, I’d get my stalker on.
The New Jersey Record mentions the Twilight Time Blu-Ray release of Jane Eyre 1944:
Charlotte Brontë's gothic romance about the impoverished governess (Joan Fontaine) and the mercurial Edward Rochester (Orson Welles) is brought to the screen with all of its intensity and wildness intact. The crisp Blu-ray transfer accentuates the beauty of George Barnes' ("Rebecca") black and white cinematography and brings clarity to the haunting score by Bernard Herrmann. "Jane Eyre" is darker than you might remember it, with unexpected death, cruelty and madness seemingly lurking around every corner. Extras: featurettes and commentaries.
The Oxford Student gives you tips to overcome January blues:
For the especially athletic I recommend a dance-along to Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights”: because taking yourself less seriously is almost always a good thing. (Roxana S. Gojjat)
Gazeta Poznań (Poland) interviews the literary critic Dr. Maciej Duda:
Brontë lepsze niż Sienkiewicz
Po dyplomie Duda poszedł na filologię polską. Pierwsze trzy lata się nudził. Nie pasjonowała go literatura staropolska, renesans ani barok. Ciekawie zrobiło się dopiero, gdy pojawiła się współczesność i omówienia tekstów teoretyków literatury.
Wtedy Duda zetknął się z prof. Ewą Kraskowską, specjalistką od krytyki feministycznej. Upewnił się, że nie ma nic zdrożnego w tym, że zawsze wolał książki sióstr Brontë od Sienkiewicza. W literaturze interesowały go odbicia rzeczywistości. Jego praca magisterska o "Prze-pisywaniu kobiet" dotyczyła różnych sposobów przedstawiania kobiet w najnowszej literaturze polskiej (Natalia Mazur) (Translation)
Publishers Weekly posts a list of the worst jobs in books. The shortlist includes being a governess in Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey; tportal (Croatia) announces the broadcasts of Jane Eyre 2011 on KinoTV (February 3, 20:30 h; February 4 04:00 h); Life with Literature and Postcards from Purgatory post about Wuthering Heights; grande-caps posts more caps of the webseries The Autobiography of Jane Eyre.

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