Saturday, May 14, 2022

Saturday, May 14, 2022 12:02 pm by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
The Scotsman features Wise Children's Wuthering Heights.
There is a point in every performance of Wuthering Heights when Lucy McCormick has a chance to look out at the audience. Playing Cathy in the Emily Brontë adaptation, she is close enough to do a mental survey of the front row. "The range of faces staring back at me is quite broad," she laughs. "They go from smiling exhilaration to aghast."
Such reactions are not surprising. In the scene in question, McCormick has grabbed the mic to sing a wild heavy-metal song, complete with wind machine and a three-strong band. Cathy-as-rock-star might not be what everyone remembers from reading the book, but maybe they were reading it the wrong way.
"Lots of people have said they have never seen Cathy done this way," she says. "But when I read the book, she is completely out there. She's always having fits, tantrums and screaming and crying. To me, the idea is odd that she should be played as a meek little pretty heroine."
For Cathy to break into song might be unexpected but it is a shortcut to dramatising the novel's themes. "In the book, you get all the time to describe what is, I suppose, Cathy's nervous breakdown," she says. "The song is a kind of exorcism. It's playing with the form to have another way of describing her different dimensions."
This is not iconoclasm for its own sake, but an attempt at capturing the radical vision of Brontë's 1847 original. Now, we see it as a classic but it wasn't always thus. Wuthering Heights was described by the Spectator on publication as "too coarse and disagreeable to be attractive". Even one of the reviewers who admired it was "shocked, disgusted, almost sickened by details of cruelty, inhumanity, and the most diabolical hate and vengeance".
McCormick understands where they were coming from. "The book is dark, violent and difficult," she says. "Brontë was deconstructing narrative form herself, playing around with the narrators and the use of time." [...]
"Emma asks a lot of you," says McCormick, who is a formidable singer and dancer as well as an actor. "It's a bit like theatre thrown-up: it's all the music and it's dancing – can you do a cartwheel? – stick that in. If she gets a sniff that you have a skill, that's it, it's in. You have to be quite careful what you let her know you can do!"
Rice demands high levels of input from the performers. "She writes the script, but it doesn’t say how anything is going to be done or what anything is going to look like," says McCormick. "You really have to create that together in the room. It feels part-scripted, part-devised.
"It gives you a kind of freedom that, in my experience, is very rare. To have so much room to make your own offers is quite unusual. It's challenging to work like that, because no one's going to tell you how to do it. But you feel really proud to have done it because it has come from you."
With all this playfulness in mind, Rice's casting of McCormick makes absolute sense. (Mark Fisher)
Stoke Sentinel reviews Jane Eyre at the New Vic Theatre.
The New Vic Theatre's co-production with the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough has been adapted for the stage by Chris Bush. Directed by Zoë Waterman, it sees the story's many characters played by a company of just six actor-musicians. [...]The play's action stays true to the plot of the novel but, refreshingly, rattles along at quite a pace. The actors switch between characters seamlessly and - despite altering very little about their appearance - the changes are never confusing to the audience.
They whip out their musical instruments along the way to perform a series of original songs to accompany the story and background music that sets the tone of the more dramatic scenes.
Despite the dramatic scenes that come with themes of abandonment, death and heartbreak, the script is full of perfectly-delivered witty lines that give provide light relief and draw many a titter from the audience. [...]
It feels wrong to single out any cast member because all six were superb. I must say, though, that Eleanor Sutton was wonderful as Jane and her transformation into another pivotal character - who is only revealed near the end of the play - was so impressive.
I say it about every New Vic production but I was amazed - yet again - by how the audience can be transported to various locations by the clever use of very little in the way of props or scenery. (Aimi Redfern)
Women and Hollywood reviews the film adaptation of The Essex Serpent.
I have not read “The Essex Serpent” by Sarah Perry, so I don’t know if the snake it’s named for is real, a metaphor, regional folklore, or some combination of the three. I do know that the six-part Apple TV+ adaptation stars Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston, gives off some serious “Wuthering Heights” vibes, and is built around love triangles and sexual tension you could cut with a knife. Honestly, that’s all I need to care about this show. (Rachel Montpelier)
Digital Spy mentions Emma Mackey's forthcoming film Emily.
She will also be taking to the Yorkshire Moors in an upcoming Emily Brontë biopic, in which she will be starring as the Wuthering Heights novelist. The movie doesn't have an exact release date yet, but filming wrapped in May 2021 and it is slated to be arriving at some point in 2022. (Iona Rowan)
World Economic Forum reports that, 'AI finds more men in fiction than women'.
“Reader, I married him.” So says Jane Eyre, the eponymous heroine of Charlotte Brontë’s classic 1847 romance - a line so famous because of the hurdles she must jump to get to that point.
But some 175 years and all the progress towards gender equality later, there are four times as many Edward Fairfax Rochesters as there are Jane Eyres, according to artificial intelligence (AI).
It also offered an insight into the adjectives used to describe women - and for now, let’s just say Brontë would not have approved. (Kate Whiting)
The Mary Sue wonders whether The Lord of the Rings trilogy passes the Bechdel Test.
That said, I tend to use a Pirates of the Caribbean approach to the Bechdel Test. It’s a guideline, not a rule. Failing the Bechdel Test does not make or break a work of art, or definitively define it as feminist or not. The test is most useful when analyzing trends in a particular genre, a particular canon, or a particular year or era. There are books older than Lord of the Rings that pass the test, like Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, and Mrs. Dalloway. The His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy passes. (Leah Marilla Thomas)
Independent (Ireland) reviews the book Essays: The Written World: Essays & Reviews by Kevin Power.
What is the point of literary theory? Does it offer any kind of elucidation to us ‘ordinary readers’ who open books for enjoyment above any other consideration? Many years ago I butted heads with a tutor over the assertion that Emily Brontë’s Heathcliff might represent women. Forgive me, I was young and stubborn, and this feminist reading of Wuthering Heights seems perfectly reasonable now. But at the time I spoke of this to my father — a man who taught Leaving Cert English for decades — and he threw his eyes up to heaven with such force he was practically looking out the window behind him. Such theoretical juggling is by academics, for academics, so they can keep being academics, he reckoned. (Pat Carty)
The Telegraph and Argus features Sandy’s Great Northern Cookbook by Sandy Docherty.
The book is split into five parts with each featuring a phrase made up of Northern dialect. An example is ‘To finish Wi’ which is translated as a term used to describe desserts.
This section of the book includes the Bronte Souffle. This recipe takes inspiration from the famous Bronte sisters, Charlotte and Emily, and their trip to work as teachers in Brussels in 1842 and how they might have enjoyed the dark chocolate delicacies. (Mark Stanford)


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