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Jane EyreMore information on Bristol 24/7, Guide2Bristol, Stage Talk Magazine, Bristol Post who interviews the actors and director:
A Bristol Old Vic production
Written by Charlotte Brontë
Devised by the Jane Eyre company
Directed by Sally Cookson
10 Feb-29 Mar (Check the schedule here)
Part 1: The Orphan Child Released
Part 2: The Impossible Love
Benji Bower - Musician
Will Bower - Musician
Craig Edwards - John Reed/Brocklehurst/St John Rivers
Laura Elphinstone - Helen Burns
Felix Hayes - Rochester
Phil King - Musician
Melanie Marshall - Bertha
Simone Saunders - Bessie/Blanche
Maggie Tagney - Mrs Reed/Mrs Fairfax
Madeleine Worrall - Jane Eyre
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me..."
A bold and dynamic re-imagining of Brontë's timeless masterpiece presented in two parts with an ensemble cast of actors and musicians.
Almost 170 years on, there is still much in Brontë's story of the trailblazing Jane and the charismatic yet vulnerable Mr Rochester to inspire today's generation. This empowering and courageous production uncovers one woman's fight for freedom and fulfilment on her own terms.
Jane Eyre is a strong and spirited heroine who, despite humble beginnings as a destitute orphan, faces life's obstacles head on to follow her own path.
Part one of this vivid re-telling will take you from Jane's childhood at Reed Manor, to Lowood School and on to Thornfield where Jane encounters the man who challenges her own passion and integrity.
Part two follows Jane's rage against the injustice of society, the discovery of bitter betrayal and, in turn, the ultimate decision to follow her heart.
Directed by Sally Cookson (Peter Pan, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Treasure Island), and with an original score and live music led by Benji Bower the two parts will draw on dark fairy tales and folk tradition to create a vivid and compelling journey.
"Jane Eyre is a strong and spirited heroine who, despite humble beginnings, faces life's obstacles head-on and follows her own path. Almost 170 years on, there is still much in Brontë's story of the trailblazing Jane and the charismatic yet vulnerable Mr Rochester to inspire us today."
Madeleine Worrall plays Jane Eyre. One of the great female characters in English literature – but what is her draw, and how much of a challenge will it be to render her onstage?
"Jane is tough, and strange, and unapologetic. One of the things we've struggled with is her internal voice.
"A lot of what we know about Jane from the book comes from her internal monologues – but we can't just have someone reading her thoughts. So the ensemble often characterise what Jane is thinking."
So the show mixes text, music and visual theatre.
Madeleine says: "It's all completely integrated. Sally is very skilled at not using too many words. She lets the music speak for itself and lets the audience make links in their own heads. She understands completely what is important to the story and doesn't try and impose meanings for the sake of it; but at the same time she brings something completely new. It will be beautiful, and fresh, and other-worldly."
Felix, it's worth noting, is a very funny actor – in Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory's 2010 Midsummer Night's Dream his Tom Snout – and in particular the latter's impassive rendition of a Wall – had audiences in stitches.
Is there scope for humour?
"I think Rochester is funny! He's so full of wit: he's so dry and cutting. You can think of it as a very dry love story, but actually it is full of heart and there are funny sparks."
Madeleine adds: "The narrative voice is acerbic and questing – it asks why women should have to put up with embroidery or stuffing a turkey.
"It questions how someone can live – as a woman or as a man – in a community that doesn't allow you freedom."