Thursday, July 27, 2017

Katie Price, co-author of the book of the recently staged The Brontës. A Musical talks about it on LitHub:
Three years ago, when I began to develop the book for a musical about the Brontës with composer Lucas Syed and lyricist Sarah Ziegler, I was asked repeatedly: Why write a musical about the Brontës?
My answer remains the same now as it did then: How could I not?
The story of the four Brontë siblings—Anne, Charlotte, Emily, and Branwell—is rife with family dysfunction, intrigue, deceit, illicit romance, drunken rage, jealousy, social climbing, fierce feminism, and the shattering of a Victorian glass ceiling. It was not difficult to envision musical—even operatic—potential in their incredibly dramatic story.
As a lover of complex musical theater and opera, I believe the musical is an ideal form for literary biography. Music and lyrics allow for deep psychological probing into intensely private characters. In the lives of the Brontës, there were many high-stakes situations that lend themselves well to song. And although there have been stage, film, and adaptations of their novels and biographies, as far as I know, there has been no other musical that dramatizes the Brontës’ heart-wrenching and triumphant story.
At the heart of this story are the masterpieces Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, two of the most important novels in the English canon, which continue to be read in high school and college classrooms the world over. But despite their popularity, most people know very little about their authors. This may be, in part, due to the sisters themselves, who took measures to obscure their names and create an aura of mystery around their lives. (Read more)
Two very contrasting reviews of the film Lady Macbeth:
If you’re a Janeite (Austen or Eyre), you might be tempted by Lady Macbeth, the tale of a child bride on some desolate heath. But don’t bother. Because while the most disturbing event in Austen’s work typically involves sexist inheritance laws or someone getting pneumonia FROM GOING OUTSIDE, and while Jane Eyre’s weirdness doesn’t extend beyond Mr. Rochester’s inter-ether communication, Lady Macbeth is a bizarro display of sex murder porn. (Is that a thing? I don't want to know.) (Megan Burbank in The Portland Mercury )
But in Katherine’s gaze, you can see hints of impudence and rebellion—and later, rage. So as soon as her husband leaves home to tend to problems at the faraway family coal mine, she takes up with a rough, brazen groomsman (Cosmo Jarvis), and all hell breaks loose.
As you can probably tell by now, this tale is more Wuthering Heights than Macbeth. (Janet Smith in The Georgia Straight)
London Theatre reviews The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. The Musical:
He's an intellectual (though naïve) kid who reads Wuthering Heights for fun and writes edgy poetry that doesn't rhyme. You can imagine his delight when Pandora, an equally smart-arse, pony-riding, private school girl ("Toff") rocks up to class, only for his wonder to be matched by his best mate (and love rival) Nigel. (Will Longman)
Another theatre review. The Spectator talks about Dessert:
Oliver Cotton is an RSC stalwart who looks like a man born to greatness. Google him. He has the fearless jawline of Napoleon, the diabolical stare of Heathcliff, the tumultuous eyebrows of Michelangelo and the streamlined quiff of Liberace. And there’s something richly corny about his appearance too, as if he were Bill Nighy done up as a 1970s porn baron. When he isn’t treading the boards, Cotton writes contemporary thrillers and his latest effort, Dessert, is directed by Trevor Nunn. (Lloyd Evans)
Leeds-List recommends the upcoming performances in Leeds of Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre:
This isn’t your usual costume drama – Director Sally Cookson has created a gritty, visceral Victorian setting for her take on the masterpiece. You’ll follow Jane’s tumultuous journey from a destitute orphan through poverty and betrayal to the moment she makes her decision to follow her heart with Mr Rochester. (Joseph Sheerin)
And we have some reviews of recent Jane Eyre gigs:
 It’s a long play, but the constant chopping of space, action, time and inner/outer worlds keeps the actions and narrative moving along, it’s a carnal treat. There were some lovely scene changes where Jane’s just whirls her skirts, they fill out, she turns, and we find ourselves moved on.
Simple, evocative, engaging and seriously well acted this is thoroughly modern Eyre, and as relevant today as when it was written, it’s still an unjust world for many people, so grab any young person and take them to this production and treat your friends if you can get a ticket… We need theatre like this, to remind us how important it is to live on our own terms, as Jane says.. (Eric Page in GScene)
Certainly, there’s not a lot to stand in the way of your imagination when it comes to the set design here. A wonderfully sparse selection of wooden platforms and metal ladders unlike any production I’ve seen. Just as when reading the novel, you are left to imagine what you need to and project this on to the set. With thanks to Sally Cookson, director, and the help of Aideen Malone’s lighting and the live band centre stage, it works amazingly well. (...)
The actors were given a standing ovation which found them crying themselves and sharing tears of elation with the audience. This was a performance never to be forgotten and one that endorses that Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre will live in the hearts of many forever more. (Laura Wragg in What's Good To Do)
Opening night at Brighton was very well received, with whoops from the audience at the curtain call. If you can live without period settings, you’ll love this feisty, beautiful, at times, tongue-in-cheek take on Jane Eyre. It’s a daring production for a book that was daring in its day. (Muddy Stilettos)
Healthista lists some inspirational books. It's kind of weird to find Wuthering Heights in there:
Kerry Parnell, freelance journalist and former Deputy Editor, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
I read Wuthering Heights aged 16 and couldn’t believe that Emily Brontë could produce that kind of intense and dark love story all from her imagination and zero experience. It made me realise how strong women were even in the 19th century when they supposedly had no voice or rights or opinions, and has inspired me ever since.
The writer Annemarie Neary posts about fictional orphans in The Literary Sofa:
First, the Jane Eyre/Lucy Snowe model – the governess type – the dutiful, earnest orphan who does her best to make her way in the world, overcoming her disadvantages and those who would prey on her. Then, the orphan whose status enables her to soar beyond society’s confines, whether jetpack or solar-powered, swinging from the lianas or fuelled by the force of her own personality. Batman was that sort of orphan, as were Superman, Tarzan and Pippi Longstocking. (...)
While the Oliver Twist/Jane Eyre experience of institutions is more prevalent, some orphans do find another kind of family in such places, as Harry Potter does at Hogwarts, or Homer Wells in St Cloud’s Orphanage where the paternal Dr Larch — no Mr Bumble, he — wishes all his charges a grandiose ‘Goodnight, you Princes of Maine, you Kings of New England!’.
Bustle lists some 'Feminist Quotes To Put On Your Healthcare Rally Signs That Say Being A Woman Isn't A Preexisting Condition':
4. "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will." — Charlotte Brontë (Sarah Fielding)
YourTango has a story about maternity and polyamory:
The idea of losing him conjured up quotes from Jane Eyre.
I could feel the invisible cord connecting us heart to heart that Brontë wrote about between Rochester and Jane, and the idea of severing that tie to me was as unimaginable as death. (Rebecca Jane Stokes)
Harper's Bazaar recommends My Personal Darling by Gabriel Tallent:
Every once in awhile there comes along a fictional character—Jane Eyre, Kunta Kinte, Jude St. Francis—whose plight and determination to overcome subsumes the reader so completely, we actually feel ourselves missing him or her after the final page. Turtle, the adolescent protagonist of Gabriel Tallent’s debut novel, is that and so much more. (Lauren Christensen)
Elle (Italy) talks about pseudonyms:
E pensare che un tempo era il contrario. Erano le donne a fingersi uomini, per paura di non essere prese sul serio Una strategia che risale almeno all’Ottocento, quando già le sorelle Brontë firmavano i loro capolavori di letteratura vittoriana come Currer, Ellis e Acton Bell. «Abbiamo la vaga impressione di essere considerate con pregiudizio», sostenevano sarcastiche. (Translation)
Featured Books reviews Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre's Library (in Spanish) loves a Brontë Parsonage Flicker Light she bought in Haworth.

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