Monday, July 04, 2011

Monday, July 04, 2011 1:34 am by M. in , , , ,    No comments
A Brontë festival will take place this July at Joslyn Castle, Omaha (NE). A curious and most welcome initiative: Romance at the Castle.
It is the early 1800s; a grimy village ranges up a steep hill in the middle of the desolate and windswept heath of Northern England. Dark clouds glower above the moors while in the village the cobblestone street is traversed by uneducated mill workers and laborers. At the top of the hill sits a church and a blocky stone parsonage surrounded by an ever-expanding graveyard. This is the home of the greatest writers in the history of romance literature, the Brontë family, and from this unlikely setting stem their stories....and their story....both full of deep passion, unbridled creativity, and devastating tragedy.

Charlotte Brontë's description of her sister Emily's novel, “Wuthering Heights,” could just as well describe their dreams as well as their literature - “vivid and fearful, charged with a sort of electricity, brooding and dark as if hewn in some wild workshop.” At a time in history when women's lives were as restricted as their corseted bodies, three sisters, daughters of a parson, trapped in a cold stone house on a remote hilltop in an impoverished village, dreamed far beyond the boundaries of their circumstances. They concocted the most passionate and iconic romance novels of all time and had the audacity to send them, under male pseudonyms, to a publisher in London.

"Jane Eyre." "Wuthering Heights." We all know the titles of their works; perhaps we have read them, perhaps not. But what were their lives like in Haworth? What sort of clothes might they have worn? How did religion play a part in their lives? How did they come by such genius? Their famous fictional characters found deep love...but did they find love themselves? What influenced them to write their tempestuous stories? What is the story of their deeply troubled brother, Branwell? How were these plucky women perceived by the world when the mask of their male identities was dropped? Learn the answers to all of these questions and more as we travel back in time in our month-long celebration of this fascinating family. Don't miss “Romance at the Castle – The Brontës.
Wednesday, July 6th
“Fashion During the Time of the Brontës”
Join UNO Costume Professor Sharon Sobel for a dazzling presentation on the fashion of the Brontë period. Costume enthusiasts, those fascinated with Victoriana, and the merely curious will be treated to a fashion show, a display of actual period fashion plates, a multi-media slide show and Ms. Sobels' expertise to reveal the changing fashion trends throughout the Brontës' life time. Don't miss this stylish presentation!

A Play by William Luce
Fridays July 8, 15, 22, 31  @ 7 pm
EDIT: Four more dates has been added: August 3,4,5 and 6.
Admission:  $15 general / $10 members

In this one-woman play by William Luce, Charlotte Brontë returns home from the funeral of her last remaining sibling and begins life alone with her father in their remote North England parsonage.  She reflects on the remarkable incidents, triumphs, tragedies and relationships that have brought her to the present moment and looks toward the future with hope and courage.  It is an inspiring story filled with great humor, dazzling imagination and deep poignancy.  Performer Jill Anderson portrays Charlotte Brontë.  Her local work has been seen in the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival, the Blue Barn Theatre, Opera Omaha and the Omaha Community Playhouse, where her roles have included Annie Sullivan in "The Miracle Worker" and Millie in "Thoroughly Modern Millie."  The performances will be followed by a Q & A


"Wuthering Heights"
Thursday, July 14th Time: 7pm
Admission: $8 general admission / $5 members

"Jane Eyre"
Thursday, July 21st Time: 7pm
Admission: $8 general admission / $5 members

In this cinematic celebration of the Brontë masterpieces you can sit back and enjoy a screening of the enduring stories that made the Brontës famous. "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights" will include commentary before by scholars and experts. Snacks will be provided!
Dates: Sundays July 17th and 24
Time: 5pm
Admission: $10 general admission/ $8 members

Sunday, July 17th
“'The Unseen Land of Thought'-- Charlotte's World”
Actors Moira Mangiameli, Kirstin Kluver, Seth Fox, Ben Birkholtz and Jill Anderson with UNO English Professor Kristin Girten collaborate to bring the literature to life! Delving into the most colorful passages of Charlotte's novels and poetry, our gifted performers and professor will animate the famous text and then look deep into the meaning of it – finding vivid connections between the literature and the life that brought it forth into the world. How much of the story line was autobiographical? Did Charlotte's amorous thoughts and desires make their way into her literature? In what way was she a feminist in her time? The answers await you!

Wednesday, July 20th
“A Perfect Misanthrope's Heaven – The Brontë Village”
“She found in the bleak solitude many and dear delights; and not the least and best loved was liberty,” says Charlotte of her sister Emily's love for the desolate Yorkshire heath. Michael Lyon, well-known radio personality from NPR/Omaha Public Radio, was born in the North of England one county over from the Brontës' Yorkshire. Join him for his recollection of “rambling the moors” in his youth and go with him on a tour of the Brontë village, Haworth, and its dramatic surrounding heath – the setting for the Brontë novels. In this multi-media presentation, Michael will take you back in time to see the shocking conditions of Haworth village in the Brontës' era and the many interesting features of their setting and surroundings in their time.

“Bloodsuckers and Hellhounds – The Gothic Other In 'Jane Eyre' and 'Wuthering Heights'
In this presentation, Creighton University Prof. Cameron Dodworth will plumb the depths of Romantic Gothicism: ghosts, castles, secrets, villains, madwomen, tempestuous romance. What IS Gothicism? What are it's roots in literature and art? How is it manifested in the Brontës' novels and where is it found in the modern world? Trace Gothicism from its roots all the way up to the present time with this insightful guide!

Sunday, July 24th
“'A Fierce, Pitiless and Wolfish Man': The Dark Gothic At The Heart of Wuthering Heights
Brilliant local actress Laura Leininger and UNO English Professor Lisabeth Buchelt will be your guides into the world of Emily Brontë with dramatic reading and discussion of her life and indelible novel, “Wuthering Heights." What was the impetus for Emily to write the novel that her sister later described as “brooding and dark as if hewn in some wild workshop”? One contemporary critic described the novel as being filled with “shocking pictures of the worst forms of humanity." Considered by many in its time to be a morally reprehensible novel, “Wuthering Heights” went on to become one of the great classics of English literature. UNO Professor Lisa Buchelt has her own take on the character of Heathcliff: "Heathcliff in popular culture seems to have become a representative type of the brooding, romantic anti-hero...dark, troubled, but redeemed by his intense love for Catherine Earnshaw. But the novel presents us with a monster, and one who is arguably more horrible than the two more famous and obvious monsters from the nineteenth century who frame him: Frankenstein's Creature and Dracula." Come see selected readings from "Wuthering Heights" performed and then participate in a discussion about the dark, malignant force at the heart of Emily Brontë's only novel. Its story of savage and obsessive love is the focus of this lively presentation!

Wednesday, July 27th
"'Wuthering Heights' and 21st Century Undergraduates”
In this presentation, UNL Professor Peter Capuano, an award-winning published scholar and specialist on 19th Century literature and culture, will provide a tour through the 1847 novel as studied by a “born digital” readership.
The Omaha World-Herald explains the origins of the project:
Omaha actress Jill Anderson thought Joslyn Castle would be the perfect setting for her revival of “Brontë,” a one-woman show about Gothic novelist Charlotte Brontë that she originally performed at the Brigit St. Brigit Theatre in 1998.
Then, the night before Anderson met with leaders of the Joslyn Castle Trust last March to seek approval for doing the play, inspiration struck.
“I got the idea of expanding this into a more full literary festival,” Anderson said. “We could have dramatic readings, invite comment from scholars and professors, maybe screen a movie or two.”
The Joslyn board was enthusiastic. So were scholars at area universities. (Bob Fischbach)
More information in The Daily Nonpareil.

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