Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Keighley News tells about the recent visit of Keighley MP Kris Hopkins to the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins has praised the Brontë Parsonage Museum for putting Haworth and Keighley on the international map.
He met Brontë Society chairman John Thirlwell and the museum management team during a visit as part of National Tourism Day.
Kris was invited by museum curator and librarian Ann Dinsdale to tour the museum and see the special exhibitions running throughout 2017, including a display of costumes and props from BBC drama To Walk Invisible.
The museum is spending five years celebrating the 200th anniversaries of the births of the Brontë children, this year focusing on Branwell.
Mr Hopkins said: “The Parsonage puts Haworth and Keighley on the international map and the Brontë Society and museum staff have done a fantastic job of celebrating and commemorating these anniversary years.
“As a regular visitor it was extremely interesting to see the new acquisitions at the museum and particularly the costumes from the TV drama and the recently-secured Brontes’ dining table, where they wrote their novels.”
Mr Thirlwell said it was a pleasure to show Mr Hopkins around the museum and tell him about the society’s plans for the future.
He added: “The Brontë story continues to captivate people all over the world and the Brontë Society is proud of the role it plays in developing a sense of pride in our region’s heritage as well as strengthening the visitor economy.”
The anniversaries are part of Brontë200, a five year programme celebrating the bicentenaries of the births of four of the Brontës: Charlotte in 2016, Branwell in 2017, Emily in 2018 and Anne in 2020.
In 2019, the Brontë Society will celebrate Rev Patrick Brontë, 200 years after he was invited to take up the role of parson in Haworth. (David Knights)
More visits to the Parsonage in The Telegraph and Argus , this time all theatre-related.
Two Brontë classics were brought to life today in Haworth by leading British theatre companies.
The National Theatre visited the Brontë Parsonage Museum to show off the leading actors in its forthcoming national tour of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
Also at the Parsonage were members of the National Youth Theatre to perform excerpts from their new stage adaptation of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. [...]
Nadia Clifford and Tim Delap will play Jane Eyre and Rochester in Sally Cookson’s “energetic and imaginative” new adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece and took time out from rehearsals to visit the atmospheric Parsonage Museum. [...]
Museum spokesman Rebecca Yorke said: ‘We are delighted to be working in partnership with the National Theatre on their tour of Jane Eyre and are thrilled to be welcoming the actors to Haworth for a glimpse at the house where the novel was written.” [...]
Also visiting the Brontë Parsonage Museum today was the National Youth Theatre as part of a country-wide event to launch its 2017 season.
There were 50 play readings of NYT commissions at venues as diverse as the National Centre in Leicester, a furniture store in Finsbury Park and the home of the Brontë family.
Some of the plays were also broadcast live on Facebook.
The rehearsed reading of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, in a new [?] adaptation by Stephanie Street, featured local NYT member Beccie Allen.
She said: “This is my first time helping to produce and direct so it has been a massive learning curve, from arranging cast to locations and costume ideas.
“What has been amazing is finding so many like-minded young performers from all over Yorkshire who are full of passion and excitement for this reading to go ahead.” [...]
Rebecca Yorke, from the Parsonage, said the museum team were delighted to be hosting the National Youth Theatre.
She said: “We are always seeking ways to engage with young people and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to both support an important initiative and promote the legacy of the Brontë family.” (David Knights) 
On Facebook, The Brontë Parsonage Museum shared a picture of the Jane and Rochester from the National Theatre's adaptation of Jane Eyre in the garden. And on Twitter, they shared a picture of them in front of the Old School Room.

And more Brontës on stage, as several news sites review the adaptation of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton. The Reviews Hub sums it up as 'gripping' and gives it 4 stars out of 5.
It’s pretty grim to think about how relevant The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is to a modern audience. The story of domestic violence, the protection of child, of alcoholism, abuse and financial control could be the script of a contemporary soap opera. Brontë’s 19th Century heroine also has to deal with the shame of failing to be a dutiful wife, something we might hope wouldn’t keep a woman in a violent relationship now – but is certainly not a completely obsolete narrative. Like all classics, it’s powerful because of the timeless story of the human condition that’s at its core.
Anne Brontë’s real gift to Deborah McAndrew, though, is Helen. If not quite a feminist there’s no doubt that she’s a survivor, a woman who knows her mind and isn’t afraid to take drastic steps to change her life. Phoebe Pryce portrays her with a quiet strength, commanding the stage with her stillness and steely stare. There’s little doubt that she’ll get what she wants in the end. Pryce is surrounded by a strong ensemble cast that successfully take on the play’s humour alongside its dark drama. Marc Small plays Arthur has with a brilliant contrast of easy charm and chilling menace. Michael Peavoy’s Gilbert begins as a picture of respectability, his underlying smouldering desire slowly emerging in true Brontë style.
In the Octagon’s in-the-round space, there’s an intimacy to the play that suits Helen’s  claustrophobic world. Amanda Stoodley’s rather clunky set adds little to the play – various bits of furniture surrounded by partial stone walls, but the ‘real’ fire adds a cosy domestic warmth to the farmhouse scenes.
The Octagon is a safe bet for a classic play or solid adaptation, and they certainly deliver with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It’s not a ground-breaking piece of new theatre but it delivers an impactful story, well told. (Jo Beggs)
Burnley Express liked it too.
Suffice to say that Anne Brontë was clearly a woman ahead of her time in writing this tale of the oppression and abuse of women on every level. She could see the injustice long before the general population could acknowledge it.
She also highlights the alcoholic abuse that men inflicted on themselves – something with which she was familiar, having had a brother guilty of such abuse.
This is a smooth production as present and past interchange effortlessly to present us with the full picture – requiring most of the players to take on dual roles. And you cannot fault the cast. You can detect the relish with which they tackle their roles in response to the writing which is clearly appreciated.
I trust I have not given too much away – apart from the fact that here is a play worth seeing. It is a new adaptation by Deborah McAndrew and directed with aplomb by Elizabeth Newman. (Barry Bradshaw)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discusses the consequences of deleting NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) as proposed by the Trump administration in the 2018 budget.
Government funds make up about 1% of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s budget, but they make specific productions possible, said Chad Bauman, Milwaukee Rep managing director.
For example, a $20,000 grant from the NEA made the Rep’s forthcoming production of “Jane Eyre” possible, because stage adaptations of classic works of literature can be costly to produce, he pointed out.
“We would have done a show that was less costly,” Bauman said. “And probably less relevant.” He described “Jane Eyre” as a good fit with the Rep’s mission, presenting a multiracial cast of actors performing a work connected to school literary curricula. (Sarah Hauer)
The Hairpin has an article on tableaux vivants and mentions the charade scene from Jane Eyre.
This odd game was very useful for authors with a message to hammer home, and it crops up in novel after novel in the late nineteenth century. Jane Eyre (1847) features a tableau guessing game that reveals the dark recesses of Mr. Rochester’s soul. Jane, antisocial and awkward, watches from the sidelines as Rochester and Miss Ingram act out silent scenes, including a dumb show of a marriage, to give a hint to the answer that’s revealed in the final tableaux: “Bridewell,” the name of a prison. And you say he’s daubing grime on his face, creating a swarthy countenance that makes him seem dangerous? Oh, Charlotte Brontë, what foreshadowing! (Marthine Satris)
Writer Maggie Alderson tells The Guardian that she didn't enjoy rereading Wuthering Heights.
I’m a very rare rereader ...because I’ve had the experience of rereading something that was a life experience when I was young – then I read it again and thought, “What is this shit?” Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights: as an adult I was like, “Really three narrators? Get it together girl, where’s your editor?” So I’m very careful what I reread. [...]
I had such a terrible experience with Wuthering Heights so I won’t go near anything I loved so much. (Bridie Jabour)
Jezebel's The Muse discusses why 'Big Little Lies Is a Jane Austen Fan's Modern-Day Dream' including its 'miniaturism'.
The recurrence of these stylistic elements are not coincidences, but literary choices rooted in a style that some old British guy who makes the rules about this stuff have deemed “miniaturism.” In addition to being a key marker of Austen’s stories, miniaturism was also invoked by the Brontë sisters, George Eliot, Edith Wharton and anyone else whose contemporaries would be shelved in the “women’s fiction” section of Barnes & Noble. (Kate Fustich)
Mumblelievers are back: Chicago Now's Retired in Chicago has a whole post devoted to mumbling actors and a mention of To Walk Invisible.
I experienced the intelligibility problem again when PBS recently broadcast a BBC drama on the Brontë sisters, To Walk Invisible. Maybe it’s the Yorkshire accents, I thought, but it also seemed there was a lot of whispering. I think I got the gist of the story, but I missed a lot of the dialogue. With the hyperliterate Brontës, the gist isn’t adequate. You need to grasp the subtleties of the conversation to understand the insights To Walk Invisible tried to convey.
When I Googled the next day to find a review, I found that even the UK audience couldn’t understand the speech in To Walk Invisible. The feedback the BBC received on social media was a variation on “Can’t understand what anyone’s saying” and “Much was muffled.” A British television critic wrote about the program: “It appears the BBC’s mumbling problem has returned.” She said the BBC had promised to do something about unintelligibility after receiving complaints about previous programs.
I’ve resisted turning on closed captioning, thinking that constant eye movement between the captions and the picture is an annoyance and that reading captions instead of watching the actors’ expressions detracts from the experience. It certainly can’t detract more than not understanding what’s said.
So, it’s going to be closed captioning from here on. I’m trying to convince myself that it’ll be better than I think. I’ll not struggle with British accents, clearly articulated or not. Maybe I’ll concentrate better. Certainly I won’t be able to sew on a button or flip through a magazine if I have to keep my eyes glued to the screen. (Marianne Goss)
Fortunately eye-rolling is clear and can't be 'muffled'.

Screen Rant reviews the trailer of Anne, Netflix's new adaptation of Anne of Green Gables.
The first episode of Anne was directed by Niki Caro, the acclaimed filmmaker behind Whale Rider, McFarland, USA and most recently, The Zookeeper’s Wife. Based on the Anne footage featured in the Netflix trailer, Caro succeeds here at establishing a strong sense of atmosphere and tone with her own episode, in turn giving rise to a larger visual aesthetic for the series that brings to mind such relatively recent (and acclaimed) period dramas as Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre and Jane Campion’s Bright Star, in terms of its lived-in style and feeling. (Sandy Schaefer)
The Huffington Post has an article on the TV programme The Bachelor,
Sure, the Bachelor dates 30 women at one time. But Mr. Darcy pursues Elizabeth even though he has been betrothed to his cousin since birth. And back in the 19th century, such behavior was considered just as scandalous. “These books — North and South, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights — are the original romantic-comedies, minus the comedy,” my friend joked just the other day. And she is right. The medium through which we absorb these tales has changed, but the basic structure of the enjoyment has remained the same. (Lucy Friedmann)
Writers with April birthdays on #AmReading, including Charlotte Brontë. ActuaLitté (France) features the 1967 film Week-end, directed by Jean-Luc Godard and mentions that Emily Brontë can be seen in it. Jane Eyre's Library posts in Spanish about a recent trip to Haworth and the Brontë Parsonage Museum.


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