Monday, July 04, 2016

Monday, July 04, 2016 9:30 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
We have a couple of reviews of the play My Jane by the Chester Theatre Company. In The Berkshire Eagle:
The play alternates between interviews with ardent devotees of the book (played by Laura Ramadei, Camila Canó-Flaviá and Claire Siebers,) conducted by a researcher (Edward Hanna) and scenes, sequentially arranged, that take us on a kind of Cliff Notes excursion through the book.
It's an interesting conceit that, ironically, is far more engaging in its informal give-and-take anecdotal discussions in which readers share recollections of their first reading of the book and the circumstances under which it took place, and thoughts about Brontë's characters and their relationships. One reader recalls coming across an old hard cover copy of the book from the Fifties, or thereabouts, "black with gold type," she says, no dust jacket. I don't know what first made me pick it up." [...]
All that youthful energy and insight, however, feels oddly constrained in the "Jane Eyre" sequences, particularly when it comes to Hanna, who is an amiable and disarming interviewer but who struggles mightily, with little success, to define Rochester in any meaningful or compelling way. Combined with Canó-Flaviá's earnest, if one-dimensional, Jane, the heart of Brontë's novel, the relationship between Jane and Rochester, is defused and lacking chemistry, not to mention credibility and conviction.
Canó-Flaviá shares the role of Jane with Ramadei, who is the Jane whose first-person narration frames the events in the book as she looks back —literally, on stage — on her younger self. narrator; Canó-Flaviá is the Jane of the events
As the narrating Jane, Ramadei carries the maturity and sensibility that has been shaped by the events upon which she is reflecting with a somewhat haunted sensibility.
Ramadei and Siebers also portray various members of Rochester's household at Thornfield Hall with deft skill, marked by the slightest shifts in body angle and vocal texture.
But in terms of Kramer's writing and structure, the transitions between the contemporary sequences and the episodes from "Jane Eyre" are too often abrupt and arbitrary. The ultimate irony in "My Jane" — the first production of Kramer's tenure as Chester Theatre Company's new producing artistic director — is that there is a great deal going on here and, at the same time, not enough. The result is a play that falls just this side short of its potential. (Jeffrey Borak)
And also on The Arts Fuse.
Kramer’s My Jane is billed as a double romance: one between Jane and Mr. Rochester; the other between Jane and her readers, who in this play seem duller than in the first. Kramer abridges the plot, highlights the role of class, narrows the focus to key characters, relationships and famous Brontë quotes, reducing Lowood, Mr. Rochester’s ward Adele, Bertha, and St. John to allusions.
The production, like so many I’ve seen at the CTC, makes the most of limited resources. The director has cast four young, energetic and competent actors in multiple roles. The poised and quietly charismatic Camila Canó-Flaviá makes an impressive professional debut in the title role of 18-year-old Jane. Laura Ramadei and Claire Siebers move in and out of the several female roles. They all speak and move well, but Alex Hanna is far too young and cheerful to be a convincingly broody 40-year-old Mr. Rochester.
Director Knud Adams keeps the movement onstage flowing and put together a design team that made the most of very little. The simple set suggests both a long wood-panelled wall of a manor interior and a college or high school commons; the costumes are basic student garb; and canny sound and light design facilitate the transition between two very different worlds.
I always enjoy seeing what other eyes and ears bring to Jane Eyre, but I left wondering what value My Jane added to the very long list of Brontë-inspired derivatives. I felt as though I had seen a good student production of a work that many brilliant minds had addressed before and far better than this CTC production. (Helen Epstein)
The Star features Eleanor Wachtel, host of CBC’s Writers & Company, and recalls that
In Grade 8, a Welshman teaching his first English class in Canada opened the door to a deeper literary world. Wachtel suddenly found herself swooning for Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights and chuckling to The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. (Sandro Contenta)
Página 12 (Argentina) interviews writer Magela Baudoin, who has been influenced by Wuthering Heights.
En el cuento “Borrasca” de La composición de la sal se intuye una atmósfera autobiográfica en esa niña que escucha a su abuela contar la historia de Emily Brontë. Lo confirma la escritora boliviana y revela que el cuento está inspirado en su abuela paterna. “Ella era ciega y su contacto con la realidad, después de la ceguera degenerativa, era su memoria literaria, una puerta enorme para mí en la curiosidad, pero también en la exploración afectiva. Este cuento surgió casi como un giro de memoria, como un rulo del presente hacia ella –reconoce Baudoin–. Si bien no hay un hilo conductor temático en los cuentos, sí hay un hilo conductor de temperamento, de atmósfera; una tristeza o melancolía que de a ratos también es un poco tragicómica, que naturaliza ese dolor a partir de la risa”.
–¿Qué pasó cuando leyó Cumbres borrascosas?–Las Brontë han sido esenciales, igual que Emma Bovary, porque mi iniciación en la lectura tuvo que ver con un padre narrador naturalmente y con esta abuela lectora. Entonces las huellas de lectura son las huellas de mi abuela. Me impactó mucho su estética, pero también su fuerza vital de imponerse a ese ambiente tan árido, tan rústico, tan inhabitable, desde la literatura. Siempre he pensado que mi abuela era muy parecida a Emma Bovary en esa inconformidad vital, pero también a las Brontë en esa épica existencial de ser a pesar de lo que le ha tocado vivir. Mi abuela vivió una pobreza muy grande con un estoicismo feroz en la mina, acompañando a mi abuelo por muchos años. Ella componía un mundo épico y lúdico alrededor de eso. Voy a terminar armando un personaje con mi abuela aquí para ti (risas). A ella le gustaba el espiritismo, jugar al ajedrez, a las cartas, al rocamboro. Era una conversadora feroz, decía poesía con una fluidez enorme, era muy clásica en sus gustos, era borgeana y no nerudiana. Yo casi no he tenido ningún mérito en amar los libros; estaban ahí como en la memoria genética. (Silvina Friera) (Translation
This mention from Correo da manhã (Portugal) is not quite so appreciative:
Teve clientela   entre   a   comunidade britânica do Porto – mas preferia ler ‘Uma Família Inglesa’, de Júlio Dinis, que achava um mau romance, tal como detestava as irmãs Brontë e apreciava bastante ‘Orgulho e Preconceito’, de Jane Austen (António Sousa Homem) (Translation)
Deccan Herald looks at the 'dark lords of literature'.
For Shivangi Misra, the Byronic hero Heathcliff from Emily Brontë’s  ‘Wuthering Heights’ was a reflection of the corrupted character of society of that period. “He was a bitter, angry, selfish man obsessed with love. It hit me deeper when I realised that Heathcliff could represent each one of us. The brooding arrogance and savageness as such are not what make us hate him but how he chooses to act. His lust for revenge post Catherine’s marriage to Linton does away with any sympathy that the reader might have felt for him.” (Rajitha Menon)
Times Colonist brings back a column first written in 1939.
I was interested to hear a discussion regarding Wuthering Heights. It was not popular with these young moderns. Hearts do not break now, they said, women have more than one ambition and there are many ways in which they can find themselves. A little probationer contributed this: “If your husband prefers his stenographer, you are sad about it, of course, and have a few hard cries, but you snap out of it and start a hat shop.” (Nellie McClung)
AnneBrontë.org posts about Anne Brontë's time in Mirfield. El gusano lector reviews Jane Eyre briefly in Spanish.


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