Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017 10:16 am by Cristina in , , , , , , ,    No comments
The Edinburgh Reporter gives 5 stars to Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre.
There are set-pieces aplenty to delight a life-time’s imagination and beyond. Jane’s bone-shaking stage-coach travels are realised through a gee-up giddy montage of  mime and harness Rap. The Lowood children seeking warm from a candle suggests a nuanced homage to Georges de La Tour’s Nativity painting. The bedclothes on fire episode is satisfyingly convincing, but equally ominous is when Jane bashfully accepts Rochester’s bridal veil and train gift. The cast playfully toss and tumble it with wind effects but the suggestion of ectoplasm, even a winding-sheet, is ever there. Bertha Mason is going to see to that. Increasingly throughout Act 2, a section of the cast serve as Chorus voicing Jane’s mounting expectations and inner conflicts. One poignant scene has them force her to view herself in hand held vanity mirrors.  Better she sketch a self-portrait to remind her of her undeserving origins and hopeless expectations of Rochester’s requited love.
Whilst the opening ten minutes of Act 1 are acoustically near to bombast and percussive overbearing things soon settle down. The plaintive a capella sang by the Lowood School girls, Kyrie Eleison (Lord Have Mercy), chimes ironically with the discordant, brutish faux piety of Mr. Brocklehurst (Ben Cutler). Cutler’s utterly improbable role as Rochester’s ever faithful dog, Pilot, is – well, barkingly superb. The swelling denouement is resolved with heroic credibility. A moment frozen in a pin-drop silent kiss. Reader – you will be married to this show. If you want to know if ever faithful  Pilot does/doesn’t escape the terrible conflagration up at the house – look away now.  Of course he does.
Melodramatic romance with passionate panache, forged in the volatile smithy of Bristol Old Vic’s turgid genius for doing things the awkward way. This Jane Eyre gives your heart and soul a breath of fresh daring. Omnia Vincit Amor. (John Kennedy)
Disclaimer features the production too
The company have devised an adaptation which captures the very essence of Brontë and her poetic voice, but which is easy to follow - especially for those who have not read the book. It is not predominantly a love story, nor a period drama; Katie Sykes’ costume design is purposefully simple yet authentic, using primarily mute colours, except for that of mad Bertha Mason’s striking red gown. Overall, it is an autobiography of a young girl who, in ignoring the demands to control her passions, becomes a headstrong maverick. [...]
The story weaves through Michael Vale’s playground of wooden scaffolding and iron bars, creating a set only enhanced by Aideen Malone’s lighting design, Benji Bower’s composition and Dominic Bilkey’s sound design. Bold reds wash over the stage foreshadowing the fate of Thornfield Hall, and lamps with yellow bulbs evoke a cosy fire in the cold common room at Lowood. There are intermittent effects of thunder and recorded voice-overs, but most of the sound effects are imaginatively created by the percussion of the body and the human voice, with Jane Eyre’s frantic door banging made by the stomping of feet and the sounds of a whip composed by the company’s breathy whistles.
The arrangements of Noel Coward’s ‘Mad about the Boy’ and Gnarls Barkley’s hit ‘Crazy’ are fittingly eerie, executed with haunting vocals by the disturbed Bertha Mason, who floats across the stage with a ghostly disposition. Building tension is established in the musical accompaniments performed by actor-musicians David Ridley, Alex Heane and Matthew Churcher, enhancing the feelings of madness which undercurrent the whole piece, until the climactic peak arrives when Thornfield Hall is put to torch, and fire licks the stage. [...]
The beating heart of National Theatre’s ‘Jane Eyre’ is Jane’s raw desires for freedom and independency, a piece heavily driven by the power of the story. It is fearless and stimulating theatre which quickens the pulse, with every thought, action and word imagined. Without being doused in commercial spectacle, ‘Jane Eyre’ has become one of the most visceral, innovative and inspired productions I have seen. (Alex Terry)
More Jane Eyre, as Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel looks back on those wonderful four days during which Katharine Hepburn played Jane in February 1937.
By February 1937, Hepburn had built a name-above-the-title career in the movies. But she also had soured on the whole Hollywood thing. So she returned to the stage in the lead of "Jane Eyre," in a touring production with the Theatre Guild.
A month before the production hit Milwaukee, Hepburn generated headlines for a different reason: her new boyfriend, Howard Hughes. [...]
There were headlines again when he flew the following day to see her in Chicago, one of several stops for "Jane Eyre" before Milwaukee. [...]
After the final performance of "Jane Eyre" on Feb. 27, about 200 fans waited outside the stage door at the Pabst. With a half-dozen police officers there to protect her on her "12-foot dash" to her waiting limousine. To the people waiting, she said, according to the Sentinel:
"Hello."
"How do you like it?"
"Goodbye."
"The crowd chorused a satisfied sigh, and dispersed," the Sentinel noted. (Chris Foran)
The same article also reminds readers of the fact that this is the last weekend for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater's production of Jane Eyre.

The Guardian features actress Kaya Scodelario, who speaks briefly about working under Andrea Arnold's orders in Wuthering Heights 2011.
She was cast as Catherine Earnshaw in 2011’s Wuthering Heights, a bold, passionate take on Emily Brontë’s ultimate teen romance, directed by a post-Fish Tank, pre-American Honey Andrea Arnold. “She would say to me: ‘If you come on set and you’re on your period and you’re pissed off, it’s fine; your character is on her period and she’s pissed off.’ To have a director say that openly in front of an entire crew? It was like, yes! This is amazing! That’s the dynamic that a woman can bring to a film set.” (Ellen E Jones)
More on the Jane Eyre references in the new screen adaptation of Anne of Green Gables from The Sydney Morning Herald.
Early on in the story, Anne is wrongly accused of theft and refuses to apologise, instead chanting to herself the great motto of self-reliance from Jane Eyre: "If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved of you, you would not be without friends". (Jacqueline Maley)
The Guardian reviews the book A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson.
The biographer of Patricia Highsmith, Sylvia Plath and Alexander McQueen, Andrew Wilson has written fiction before, but A Talent for Murder is an entirely different kind of beast. You may perhaps have read those books in which Jane Austen is a detective, or the Brontës come back as ghosts: fan fiction in which a writer’s enthusiasm for their literary hero leads them towards a reimagining of the hero’s life. James Joyce, secret agent, etc. There are of course some fine examples of the genre: Drood (2009) by Dan Simmons, featuring Dickens and Wilkie Collins, and a number of novels by Matthew Pearl, who specialises in this kind of thing. But no one to date, to my knowledge, has successfully cast the queen of crime herself as the lead character in a crime novel – until now, that is. (Ian Sansom)
The Conversation discusses how 'World War I Changed Weather Forecasting for Good', recalling that
Culture has rarely tired of speaking about the weather. Pastoral poems detail the seasonal variations in weather ad nauseam, while the term “pathetic fallacy” is often taken to refer to a Romantic poet’s wilful translation of external phenomena – sun, rain, snow – into aspects of his own mind. Victorian novels, too, use weather as a device to convey a sense of time, place and mood: the fog in Dickens’s Bleak House (1853), for example, or the wind that sweeps through Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847). (Barry Sheils)
The Spinoff (New Zealand) describes Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights as 'high-risk, high-reward'. Now Novel shares '7 lessons from books made into movie adaptations', including a couple of references to Wuthering Heights. Batch of Books is giving away a copy of Sarah Shoemaker's Mr Rochester (open only to US and Canada residents).

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