Review - Villette at the West Yorkshire Playhouse - *Review by Richard Wilcocks* Charlotte Brontë’s *Villette*, which was recognised by knowledgeable readers in nineteenth century Brussels as a close parallel...
7 hours ago
Now Worrall is playing Jane Eyre in a stage adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel. It won five-star reviews when first staged, in two parts, at Bristol Old Vic last year, and a new single-performance version opens at the National Theatre this month.The Independent looks forward to this production too:
To retain a sense of integrity in everything you do is almost an impossible challenge
Jane Eyre was “devised by the company” without a script. How does that work?Sally Cookson, our brilliant director, was absolutely definite that unlike a lot of the film adaptations, which go straight to the romantic story with a passing nod to Jane’s dreadful childhood, we should encompass the fact that the full title of the book is Jane Eyre: An Autobiography. We started ripping the book apart. You improvise the sense of the scenes and Sally always works very physically, so it’s far removed from the conventional “You stand there, I’ll stand there”. She gives her actors and musicians full range to respond instinctively, almost like dancers. I can only describe it as being like a sculptor with a big lump of clay. You take bits off, then you make a mistake and fill a bit in, and miraculously a form starts to emerge. It’s messy and risky and the sort of thing only subsidised theatre is brave enough to commission. If you tell any commercial producer: “We’ve got no script and we don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” they’d run a mile. (...)
You took the Jane Eyre paintings by Paula Rego as an inspiration?Sally was very keen – and I was too – that Jane was not some little dolly. If you look at most covers of the novel they really are terribly insipid. Brontë was a modernist, and Jane Eyre is full of uncomfortable rage and a sense of justice. And we felt it was important not to hide that away in some beautifully proportioned, prissy presentation. (Interview by Liz Hoggard)
And you might think we hardly need another Jane Eyre, but Sally Cookson’s epic adaptation was a hit at Bristol Old Vic – and now comes to the National (from Tue). (Holly Williams)The Irish Independent lists some of the new books for this autumn:
For fans of the Brontë sisters, Claire Harman's biography, Charlotte Brontë: A Life (Penguin: November) will be a treat. (Edel Coffey)FTN News presents some Scottish tourist locations and mentions how
Day visitors can easily reach Abbotsford House, just minutes from Tweedbank Station. A jewel in the crown of Scottish architecture, this luxurious mansion was once home to Sir Walter Scott and guests can explore the elegant rooms where he hosted literary glitterati such as Oscar Wilde and Charlotte Brontë, or discover his life and legacy in the visitor centre. (Ozgur Tore)Indeed Charlotte Brontë visited Abbostford House with George Smith in July 1850 (more information here).
The Sheikh had once arranged for me to visit a West Yorkshire madrasa, in the heart of Brontë country, all grey slate walls and windswept moors. The atmosphere recalled a Muslim version of the muscular Christian upbringing that I imagined the Brontë sisters probaby enjoyed in their father's parsonage.The Sunday Times and Reader's Digest review Miss Emily by Nuala o'Connor, a novel about Emily Dickinson:
O’Connor clearly has affection for her subject, who herself reveres Elizabeth Barrett Browning and George Eliot and keeps a well-read Emily Brontë book on her bedside table. O’Connor’s biggest tribute towards Miss Emily’s titular heroine, however, is her Dickinson-esque economy of words and a deeply shared love of language. (Mark Hamilton)Quoting from the novel itself:
I rise and take Emily Brontë from her perch beside my bed. I leaf through the pages, hoping for lines that will hand me consolation. My eyes alight on:L'amore per i libri (in Italian) reviews both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights; Ron Lit vlogs about slave trade in Mansfield Park and Jane Eyre; Erin Entrada Kelly thinks that Jane Eyre and Ivan (the gorilla from The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate) (!).No coward soul is mineNo trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphereI see Heaven's glories shineAnd Faith shines equal arming me from Fear.
Would that I had my namesake's faith in a heavenly God; would that I had her courage.