Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 10:07 am by M. in , , , , , , , ,    No comments
Seattle Weekly has a more positive review of the Taproot Theatre production of Jane Eyre. The Musical:
The show premiered on Broadway 14 years ago, and it might sound like a slog. Quite the opposite. Directed by Karen Lund, this production moves quickly and seamlessly through Jane’s early tale of woe (...)
Art Anderson’s Rochester is a manifold pleasure to behold. He sings well, commands the stage, and mugs for the audience with assurance. Rochester’s vanity and pride are comic, but his tenderness is also clear (especially in duets with Jane). Even as he shares his backstory—including his darkest secrets—it’s easy to imagine Jane falling in love with him. The audience is likely to feel the same.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Jessica Spencer, who turns in an uneven performance as the grown Jane. (Mark Baumgarten)
The Daily of the University of Washington has liked it even better:
The musical talent of the cast is stunning; their crisp and clear vocals resonate through the theater giving the production an elegant atmosphere. (...)
The intimate stage accentuates the narrative style of the play. Though the set may be considered a bit plain — in most scenes it consists of a Gothic stone and wood house — it delivers a few surprises of its own as it transitions into other rooms. The rooms are furnished sparingly but with finely selected pieces. Though it is simple, the set is nothing short of impressive and suits the mood of the story.
Taproot is the perfect venue for this exciting and personal drama: “Jane Eyre” lights up the stage with musical talent, creating a show that exudes the elegance of classical theater and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. (Sasha Glenn)
The Northern Echo reviews the touring ChapterHouse Theatre Wuthering Heights production:
Writer Laura Turner had a major job on her hands in adapting Wuthering Heights for the open-air stage, especially when the production is also visiting theatres. (...)
Turner’s fine adaptation unravels the complexities of Brontë’s revenge filled text. Director, Rebecca Gadsby does a sterling job of keeping the action moving and making sense of the cruelty and passion across two timelines.
Paul Tonkin’s Heathcliffe (sic) is the perfect tortured romantic, he’s in love with Catherine Earnshaw, a lovely yorkshire performance from Katy Helps, but Heathcliffe (sic) is complicated and his bizarre nature makes him a rare character, with components of both hero and villain. (Helen Brown)
Broadway World announces a new production of Christine Calvit's Jane Eyre adaptation in Chicago:
Lifeline Theatre presents an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Christina Calvit (four-time Jeff Award winner), and directed by Lifeline Theatre Artistic Director Dorothy Milne (Jeff Award and After Dark Award winner). (...) Jane Eyre runs September 5 - October 26 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave.
The Guardian recommends Wide Sargasso Sea as your book for the beach:
Kicking off a season of summer holiday reading selected by Guardian writers and readers, a heatstruck prequel to Jane Eyre (...)
How had I never noticed this before? Could it be that the poor little orphan of my memory was harbouring vengeful fantasies? Had I all along been mistaking a gothic character for a Dickensian one? It's with assumptions such as this that Jean Rhys plays in her fabulously atmospheric exploration of the life of the first Mrs Rochester.
Antoinette Conway is an orphan, too, as a Creole heiress marooned in Jamaica, in the ruins of a slaving culture that has made her a pariah to her black neighbours. When she is a child, the family mansion is torched and a girl whom she wants to be her friend throws a rock at her head – incidents that resound with distorted echoes of Jane Eyre. (Read more) (Claire Armitshead)
Curiously enough, Kaulie Lewis writes in The Millions about the books that influenced her the most in college and recalls Wide Sargasso Sea:
In the spring semester of my freshman year, I was allowed to register for my first proper English class. As part of the course, I was assigned both Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, a postcolonial prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s novel that tells the story of Rochester’s first wife, Antoinette. I had read Jane Eyre before, twice, and wasn’t looking forward to having to go through it again; I wanted to read new books and fresh authors, not the same novels I’d been assigned in high school. But reading Wide Sargasso Sea was a turning point in my English career—a moment that I can point to and say, “There. That’s it. That changed it all.” This book taught me that it was possible to critique the classics; I didn’t have to agree with them or accept their versions of their stories. I realized that every book was leaving something out—that there was almost always some other story to explore, some angle that wasn’t at first obvious—and that looking for these would open books wider than I thought possible. I realized that reading is a political act, as is writing. I talked about the book nonstop. Although I never mentioned Wide Sargasso Sea in any major written assignment and was never graded on my understanding of the novel, its influence underwrote all my studies for the next three years.
Mary Kenny in The Belfast Telegraph warns us against the Victorian cliché of the helpless woman:
The Victorian woman is, primarily, a frail "victim". She's either being tied to a railway line by the dastardly villain, chaperoned everywhere by some sour-faced companion so that she is suitably "protected" – or locked up in an institution (or in the attic, like Mrs Rochester in Jane Eyre) to control her feeble and deficient character. This poor swooning maiden is a delicate creature.
The Nottingham Post reviews Caitlin Moran's one-woman-show in Nottingham:
And there’s female masturbation, and its relative invisibility in literature, film and TV compared to the boy equivalent: "Where's the ******* in Jane Eyre?" (Tara de Cozar)
St George News (Utah) reviews a local production of Sense and Sensibility at the Utah Shakespeare Festival 2014:
Sense and Sensibility” demands to be seen. And don’t fear that it’s going to be highbrow or “girly” – my husband, who loves shoot-‘em-up movies and doesn’t know a Jane Austen from a Charlotte Brontë, enjoyed the show, which is fair proof to me that it’s universally likable. (Cami Cox Jim)
Examiner interviews the author Stephanie Carroll:
If you could go back in time and be any figure from history, who would it be?
I’ve always thought it would be awesome to either be a historical author like Emily Brontë ("Wuthering Heights") or Francis Hodgsen Burnett ("Secret Garden") because I would get to write and live on the moors, but then again, I’ve always thought it would be awesome to be a queen (what girl hasn’t) and what other queen would anyone chose than Queen Victoria – Queen of the Victorian Age!
Ramblings from a Nobody has visited Haworth. Reading at the Moonlight (in Spanish) is suffering an acute case of Brontë fever.

Finally, an alert for today July 16 in Blackburn:
Blackburn library, Blackburn, BB21AG
When:16 July 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Everyone associates the Brontës with Haworth, because they lived in the parsonage there, but there were many other locations that had great significance in their lives and work. Mairead Mahon reveals some of these lesser known places, many of which are ideal for day trips. 

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