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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Wierd Circle Wuthering Heights, and a Musical

As promised, here is my discussion of Wuthering Heights produced by 'Wierd Circle'. It was quite a few notched better and more mature than their version of Jane Eyre. I know that compressing most books, and great books down to a half-hour radio program is nearly impossible but this one shows that with careful editing it doesn't have to be disasterous. It still isn't good, but it's good enough--I suppose. The story is compressed mainly by cutting out the entire revenge plot from beginning to end, except for Hindley treating Heathcliff poorly (but there's no mention of anything other than ostracism going on). Heathcliff cries a little, thinking of getting revenge but this revenge never happens. It seems more like an immature thought which passes after he sobers up. He does return to the Heights but all that we learn of that is that Hindley invited him. He still marries Isabella 'for spite' but all that we know about the marriage is that Isabella 'isn't happy'. All of the past and present action takes place through the device of Cathy's diary and the explication of Nelly at the end. Lockwood remains at Wuthering Heights until he has heard the whole story. When he has told Heathcliff about Cathy's ghost, Heathcliff rushes into the snow to 'bring her back' and they find him frozen on her grave the next morning. I suppose what really keeps this version from the brink of the kind of absurdity of their version of Jane Eyre is the dialogue. There is only one line, said by Cathy, which seems silly and this is only in its delivery.

I don't remember mentioning this before, but a few months ago I also was introduced to the Wuthering Heights musical. Clips from the CD can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00009Y3OJ/qid%3D1123810368/sr%3D2-3/ref%3Dpd%5Fbbs%5Fb%5F2%5F3/103-1399124-4423806 My general impression was that it didn't work. I haven't heard the music for a while now, but while I liked the idea of an operatic attempt I don't feel that this one really did the job at all.

4 comments:

Esther said...

Hello! Overjoyed to see your blog. I want to bring your attention to a very fine play on the Brontës, titled "Brontë" by Dr. Alan Tongret of Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, AZ. You might find Dr. Tongret a valuable resource as well for your studies. Here is a link re: a reading Dr. Tongret did of Brontë in NYC in May 2003
http://www.pvc.maricopa.edu/puma/may03/Tongret.html

I saw his play in 2001 and I saw the musical twice -- once in La Jolla/San Diego in 2000 and then on Broadway 5/01. Infected my then young teen daughter with Brontë disease, LOl. Now she's a senior in high school and totes around Villette for light reading.

If I wasn't a practicing engineer, wife, mom and currently trying to launch my kids into college, I'd love to be a Brontë scholar too. One of my dreams is to go on a Brontë pilgrimage. That last time I was in England I was there to see a play with Gillian Anderson in it and it was winter and we didn't have time to make it up to Brontë country...but some day!

Brontëana said...

to esther:

Thanks for stoppping by! I'm going to follow up on that link in just a second.

I'm quite jealous. I didn't get to see the musical at all. Strange thing... I saw the commercial for the show when it was in Toronto but I was naive enough to think the show would be running there for a good long time. So I didn't pester my parents about taking me. And then I didn't hear about it again until last year when a friend gave me the soundtrack. Stranger still, I told my sister about how I loved the show, and she tells me she had auditioned for the Toronto cast! Never said a word to me! Argh!

I've been able to hear a recording of the show in La Jolla. Terrific stuff... I've always wondered how it looked compared with the Broadway run. Care to share any memories? (please! ;) Always good to have someone to share Brontë love with. I do have a friend who carries a copy of Jane Eyre around with her 'for emergencies'. :)

Esther said...

I'll post later on the differences of the musical between La Jolla and Broadway. BTW it also played in Idaho and in the Bay area.
Do you know about the Wichita version? Just google "Jane Eyre" and Wichita

Here are some other links:
http://members.boardhost.com/janeeyre/
is still active. Mostly these days there's chat about the actors and other B'way stuff. But there's archives.

There's 'voices across the moors' a JE Musical alumni site --
http://www.currerwells.net/janeeyrealumni/
The regional performances are listed at http://www.currerwells.net/janeeyrealumni/regional.html

It hasn't been updated in a year though...for example, it doesn't mention that Andrea Bowen is a regular on Desperate Housewives, etc.

There's a yahoogroup http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JaneEyre_Bway/
that is still "there" but no one has posted in 2 years -- but it is a great real-time record of the musical's fandom at the time.

In the yahoogroup file section, there's photos of the Billboard at the theatre, and actual legal video clips of some scenes (proposal, secret soul, pledge...) So romantic...

Brontëana said...

I think I tried to join that particular group before but the moderator didn't approve me in time. I'd really love to see those clips. I've one of the proposal from James Barbour's website.

I hadn't heard about it playing in Idaho or SF. How strange... was that before or after it went to Broadway? I have heard about it being in Wichita but don't know much more than that. I think I found a cast list somewhere. Even that was interesting... it listed actors playing John Eyre, Dr.Carter, and Mr. Lloyd!!

btw: thanks for the links, I'll have to do a special post about the musical either today or tomorrow. :)