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...
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At first, watching a Heathcliff that could dance precisely, however ferocious his movements, jarred with me. Heathcliff is so completely not a man that would ever perform the choreographed and controlled steps of ballet, that I suddenly wondered whether a Wuthering Heights ballet was a wise idea at all.More on theatre as Chicago Tribune recommends a Brontë-related play on a list of '50 shows for fall'.
But then I began to notice the tension as he danced. Heathcliff’s movements were far more fixed to the ground than the lighter Linton. His muscles would often, while his toes remained firmly rooted. It created an uncomfortable build-up of tension that reminded me ballet is an art form with a language of its own. If a ballet company as established as Northern Ballet wanted to create a character that would never put a single toe in a ballet pump, they could. [...]
My main criticism of the production has been expressed by many reviewers: the ending was far too abrupt. I did not expect the full plot of the novel to be played out. Like many other adaptations, the story ended half-way through, before the introduction of Cathy’s child. This was an entirely understandable and sensible decision, but the manner in which it was executed was disappointing.
Heathcliff barely had time to grieve Cathy’s death. He had one brief angry storm around the stage before the reappearance of young Cathy and Heathcliff and a heavenly light seemed to suggest the hope of the afterlife. The End. It was all a little twee.
Another criticism was the set. It was mostly very well designed, but I felt a little cheated by the moors. They existed in a rather pitiful tree and some classic dry ice. Perhaps I am too accustomed to theatrical sets that can be far more elaborate, not needing a large space to dance. Perhaps the moors were purposefully empty to suggest bleakness.
These negatives aside, the production was beautiful. It did not feel so much an adaptation of Wuthering Heights, as a dream version, as the kind of thing your mind would play out if you fell asleep while reading the book. In essence, it was the mood of the book in a ballet: exactly what it was supposed to be. (Ellie Scorah)
"You on the Moors Now": More Victorian women get a makeover in Jaclyn Backhaus' witty mashup of heroines from the worlds of Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, set in a mythical land known as "the Moors," where the women escape unwanted proposals of marriage. Devon de Mayo directs this fractious feminist escapade for the Hypocrites. Den Theatre; through Oct. 30 (Kerry Reid)And more as Broadway World reports that,
Sarah Ziegler is an advanced member of the BMI Workshop. In addition to Just Between the All of Us, she is currently developing The Brontë Project with composer Lucas Syed for NYC's Theater in Asylum.The Telegraph features fashion designer Simone Rocha and her love for Jane Austen and yet, according to the newspaper,
Rather than Jane Austen, though, there’s a Brontë-ish rawness to Rocha’s clothes – the swinging skirts that hang to the calf, the sturdy shoes and the extensive use of tweed and crochet. Some years ago I talked to her about the chunky flat shoes she launched with her first collections, which became an instant commercial success; she told me she wanted her women to be able ‘to run over the hills’ (I tried to remember this when I was caught in a downpour on a bridge late at night in one of Rocha’s tinsel tweed dresses). (Kate Finnigan)A columnist wonders whether New Zealand may be 'the most sexist place on earth' on Stuff (New Zealand).
One of the first parties I attended was essentially an orgy, and it was not as erotic as it might sound, especially for an observer whose sex life thus far had been limited to subtexts in Jane Eyre. (Katherine Dolan)Harvard Gazette features an online class which treats Harry Potter as a sacred text.
It might sound like a tongue-in-cheek item in The Onion, but an online class on reading the Harry Potter books as sacred texts has proven a popular offering for the Humanist Hub at Harvard.The Independent has an article on presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc quitting The Great British Bake-Off.
Led by Harvard Divinity School graduates Vanessa Zoltan, M.Div. ’15, and Casper ter Kuile, M.P.P. ’16, M.Div. ’16, the class began as a reading group last summer at the Humanist Hub, where Zoltan is an assistant chaplain. It drew nearly 80 participants on its opening night, and is now starting its second year. [...]
GAZETTE: Where did the idea for “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text” come from?
ZOLTAN: I met Casper while I was doing work treating secular texts as sacred, and we became good friends. We had very similar values and similar projects that we were interested in, in terms of doing ministry for people who didn’t feel comfortable in traditional religious settings. I was running a class on treating “Jane Eyre” as a sacred text, and Casper came, even though he didn’t do any of the reading [laughs]. But he was super into it, and he was so supportive and so sweet. It was me and four women in this tiny room at the Humanist Hub, and he was like, “This was so, so great. But don’t you think it would be more fun if it was about a book that people actually read?” (John Michael Baglione)
And while the duo has no shortage of knob gags, Mel and Sue do not leave their brains outside the Great British Bake Off tent flap. As Sue parodies Jane Eyre and Mel correctly pronounces the titles of European bakes they are also busting a stereotype. (Biba Kang)Risk to Write shares her favourite quotes from Shirley. Bald Book Geek posts about Wuthering Heights. The Hendomadal Chesterton has a quote in which G.K. Chesterton expresses his opinion on the Brontës. A View from the Fourth Floor is updating her collection of Brontë novels.