Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Ever wondered why screenwriter Andrew Davies has never adapted the Brontës? The Times has the answer:
He is the master storyteller whose bodice-ripping yarns revived the bonnet drama. However, Andrew Davies, the screenwriter whose Midas touch has lifted numerous classics from the page to the screen in some of the BBC’s most popular series, says that he would never take on the Brontë sisters.
Davies, 80, admitted that he was not a fan of the Brontës’ work and thought that they were all “nutty”. He told the Festival of Literature in Dubai: “I tell you who I would not adapt — one of my blind spots is the Brontës. I have not done any Brontë adaptations. I think they are all nutty, they live so much in their own heads.
“Rochester is not a real man at all, he is actually quite silly. All those silly games he plays. I feel very much that he is a wish fulfilment fantasy from a young woman’s imagination.
“Obviously, it is a minority view and most people regard the Brontës highly.”
The revelation that he will not take on the likes of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights or Agnes Grey no doubt will incense Brontë fans and disappoint audiences who have been enthralled by his adaptations of classics such as Pride and Prejudice and War and Peace.
Davies begrudgingly admitted that Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was “actually rather good”, but though he described the first half of Jane Eyre as “terrific”, he added: “When [Jane] gets into adult life I find it all too fantastic.” (Tahira Yaqoob)
Hillsboro Tribune reviews Bag & Baggage Theatre's production of Polly Teale's Brontë.
Cassie Greer's bold, adventurous Charlotte produces the critically acclaimed, but relatively tame book, "Jane Eyre." Morgan Cox's brilliant but very private Emily shocks the literary world with the fierce passions of "Wuthering Heights." However, it is Jessi Walters' gentle, timid Anne who thrusts themes of domestic abuse and debauchery – hardly topics for polite society – center stage in "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall."
 Without sets to create atmosphere, the audience is required to rely on imagination and a forest of books – just as the real Brontë sisters used imagination and their father's extensive library to break the boundaries of their narrow world and create some of the most passionate fiction of the 19th century. While the audience moves about in the library, the story also moves freely, jumping forward and backward in time and interspersing frequent cameos by characters from the sisters' most iconic novels: Cathy and Heathcliff from "Wuthering Heights," and Jane, Rochester and Bertha from "Jane Eyre."
 The acting is every bit as good as we have come to expect of a Bag&Baggage cast – Greer, Cox and Walters capture the three sisters personas flawlessly.
Peter Schuyler transitions easily from the upright and autocratic Patrick to the brooding, volatile Rochester and the timid, lovestruck Nicholls. Joey Copsey is at his best as Branwell, who moves from boyish exuberance and abandon to dissolute alcoholism when his father's ambitions send him out of the protection of the family home and into the harsh realities of the outside world.
Jenny Newbry's take on Cathy is spot-on – an eerie mixture of passionate abandon and barely controlled hysteria. Newbry's Bertha is a bit tougher to accept, perhaps because in the library setting we are a little too close to her as she crawls madly around a series of rooms.
Melissa Heller's costumes are just detailed enough to suggest each change in character, while allowing for the rapid changes required by the play's unique staging. Violinist Taylor Neist expresses the ever-changing moods of the story, evoking especially well the darker moments, starting strong and then fading as only a violin can.
 The structure of the production limits the audience to 60 people per night, so it's advisable to purchase tickets early.  Even if "Brontë" should happen to be produced again locally, it may never get the kind of progressive treatment that Michelle Milne gives it. The audience is called on to walk enough that sensible shoes are strongly recommended. (Tina Arth)
Keighley News reveals what the Brontë Parsonage Museum is planning to do during the Tour de Yorkshire:
It's time for rhyme as the Tour de Yorkshire returns to Haworth.
The Brontë Parsonage Museum has booked a poet to appear on the same day as the cyclists race through the village.
Winston Plowes and his Random Poetry Generating Bicycle will be in and around the museum on April 30, from 11am to 4pm.
A museum spokesman said: “We wanted to be involved in the Tour de Yorkshire, but couldn’t face the cobbles.
“So as the cyclists make their way through Haworth, look out for our Parsonage Poet on a Bike – Winston Plowes – and his Random Poetry Generating Bicycle.
“Winston will be pottering around the Parsonage and Main Street, inspiring all to find their hidden poet. Lycra not essential.”
Winston’s visit also ties in with the parsonage’s year of celebrations for the 200th anniversary of Branwell Brontë’s birth. (David Knights)
We can't recall Charlotte Brontë ever visiting the Carlyles' home in London, but Londonist goes as far as imagining she used their toilet.
Among the frequent visitors to Carlyle's house were Tennyson, Thackeray, Forster and Dickens (whose blind admiration for Carlyle explains his penchant for rambling sentences). Even Charlotte Brontë may have parked her dainty derriere here. In fact, seeing as this was the only toilet in the house, it's likely that most, if not all, of the above actually did so. Who knows, perhaps some were struck with literary inspiration while on the job. (Will Noble)
MyToba discusses dating after 50.
Whether that individual is looking for a soul mate in the manner of Catherine and Heathcliff in the masterpiece, Wuthering Heights – “whatever our souls are made out of, his and mine are the same” – or for companionship after a divorce or loss of a spouse, starting over later in life can be difficult. (Kevin Klein)
Cosmopolitan lists '14 signs your Tom Hardy obsession is blatantly out of control', one of which is
8. You were actually happy to study Wuthering Heights at uni when you discovered a version starring Tom. (Anna Lewis)
The Stony Book Press is in favour of reading classics. The Brussels Brontë Blog has a post on Villette and The Professor in Japan.

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