Thursday, May 03, 2018

Burnley Express reviews a local production of Polly Teale's Brontë by Pendle Borderline Theatre Company.
Rosie Butler made for a strong leading actress as Charlotte, the eldest of the sisters. She had fantastic stage presence and nailed the emotional scenes as the conflicted sister caught between her ambition and family duties, a woman who was suppressed by both societal expectations and her own insecurities. Claire Foster played the part of Emily with great sensitivity, capturing her descent into depression with fabulous control and skill, and showcasing a strong understanding of the impact of the disease. It made for several heart-breaking scenes. Ayla Munro was endearing as the people-pleasing Anne and had excellent poise throughout while Matt Holmes demonstrated excellent range as Branwell, particularly shining during his drunken moments and haunting fall into madness. Last, but not least, Mike Craine offered strong support as the siblings' father Patrick and neighbour Arthur Bell Nichols. What was particularly impressive about this play was the way in which it illustrated the enduring relevancy of the Brontë tale in the modern world. Mental illness, addiction, family conflict and even the repression of women continue to shatter lives today. The play zooms in on the complexities of the sisters' brief and broken lives: their writing dreams; their loss and grief; and their literary success and failures. The focus is shifted away from historically realistic costumes and language, and the spotlight is brighter on the complex and at times dysfunctional relationship between the family members. Directors Lesley Playfer and Hilary Foster and their production team played with Teale's original tale and threw cinematic video footage created by Paul Hartley and starring Rachel Bailey and Matt Holmes into the mix. This made the Brontë's literary world and characters within their novels more accessible to a wider audience. All of this drew me in, making the characters more relatable and, in effect, landing a more powerfully emotional blow. (Laura Longworth)
Hypable reviews the novel Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne.
I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to read this particular “reimagining” of one of the most classic pieces of literature there is. The story of Jane Eyre just seemed so complete, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy hearing the same story told in a different setting.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it wasn’t long before I was completely wrapped up in the world of Brightly Burning for everything that was unique about it. The similar plot points and name references became more of a fun easter egg once I became immersed in the goings on of Stella, the Stalwart, and of course, The Rochester.
Brightly Burning will equally appeal to young adults who are fans of the classics and those who are fans of sci-fi. The story is deep and familiar, and the setting is interesting and thought provoking.
As a protagonist, Stella will steal your heart all on her own. The vibrant, talented, and curious young woman is a pleasure to follow throughout her trials of unrequited love, suspicious happenings, and the perils of living in space with a very finite amount of resources. [...]
At its core, Brightly Burning is a fun story about young love, mystery and doing what’s right despite all of the things that are easier. Lovers of Jane Eyre will have a great time exploring their favorite story in a new setting, and those who haven’t read the classic will love discovering the characters and the story in this inventive way. (Kendra Cleary)
That's Normal features the book as well.
It is 100% Jane Eyre in space but minus the weirdness. If you’re a super fan of Jane Eyre, then you’ll recognize all the nuances Alexa Donne takes to better the original text. For example, the captain of The Rochester is not some middle aged married man. Instead, he’s a depressed, nineteen-year-old orphan who assumed the position of captain at age fourteen when his parents died. Stella’s pupil is his sister and not his child. But that’s all I’m giving you, I don’t want to spoil the rest.
The relationship between Stella and the captain is a slow burn romance. Like Jane Eyre, their relationship builds on friendship with several swoon-worthy moments. Hugo, the captain, is brooding, aloof and just the right amount of yup.
The mystery is well paced and blows up to a bigger plot. Alexa Donne does a nice job of incorporating the sabotage and madness into a bigger storyline. So where Jane Eyre ends, Brightly Burning picks up the pace with a satisfying ending. (Brooke)
Female First asks writer Annalie Grainger about her favourite female characters.
Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)
There's a bit of a theme to my heroines, I've realised: bookish, shy, a bit out of keeping with societal expectations but with a deep inner belief in themselves despite it all. Jane Eyre is no different. Neglected, abused, overlooked but ultimately the ruler of her own destiny.
Bustle vindicates '15 Female Characters In Literature Who Deserved So Much Better Than They Got' and among them is
Bertha Mason
Bertha Mason was Mr. Rochester's first wife in Jane Eyre. She had some sort of mental breakdown towards the beginning of their marriage, though, so Rochester responded by locking Bertha in the creepy nightmare attic of his house for the rest of her life. Not exactly a compassionate response to a spouse's mental illness. I'd try to set him on fire too, Bertha. (Charlotte Ahlin)
The Guardian reports that,
An incendiary essay by the award-winning Jamaican poet Kei Miller that probed at white women writers’ authority to speak for the Caribbean has been pulled from a new magazine after laying bare a long-festering anger in the islands’ literary community. [..,]
Miller’s essay has reinvigorated an ongoing debate. In his 1974 essay Contradictory Omens, Kamau Braithwaite indirectly critiqued Jean Rhys’ writing about the non-white experience in novels like Wide Sargasso Sea, published eight years before. In 2014, Roffey was criticised by several Caribbean writers after she wrote an article praising the region’s literature that some perceived as having the airs of having “discovered” it; Vladimir Lucien described multiple authors calling her “a latter day Columbus”. (Joshua Surtees and Alison Flood)
National Health Executive wonders whether literature can improve 'the quality of life of those with mental health conditions'.
I started the first Shared Reading session in a community centre in North Birkenhead with a group of people who might never have read a piece of literature; some who couldn’t read. But they could still get involved, everything was read aloud – Shakespeare, Chekov and Maya Angelou – and we talked, not in an academic sense, but in a human way: what did it mean to us in a personal way? One man in those early days, who claimed he only read the back of sauce bottles, said: “I’ve learned more about women from reading Jane Eyre in this group than I have in 40 years of marriage.” (Jane Davis)
Fashionista praises the clothing brand Kalaurie.
I first stumbled across Melbourne-based brand Kalaurie while in an #ethicalfashion rabbit hole on Instagram some months back, and I was immediately hooked by the brand's moody romanticism. The pieces look like something straight out of a modern rendition of "Wuthering Heights" without feeling like they'd be unwearable in my very urban New York City life. It's the perfect way to leave a little room for daydreaming in my wardrobe, without feeling silly about how that dream-made-real looks in the context of all the grit and concrete that forms the backdrop of life in the city. [...]
Seems like a good enough reason to invest in one of the brand's classic-with-a-twist white shirts, like this one with voluminous sleeves and wrist ties. Here's hoping it'll look at good on me as it would've on Emily Brontë's Cathy. (Whitney Bauck)
Political Theology discusses Silence in Jane Eyre.

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