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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Jane Eyre: The Musical at Blackpool and a Lesson in Lighting

Jane Eyre the Musical is set to open at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool. This article gives the impression of a very interesting production:

The production is being staged using some of the most advanced lighting and sound techniques both being provided by West End professional organisations and the production is set to follow in the steps of the blockbuster Ragtime which took the Grand Theatre audiences by storm last June.

This is very good to hear. Jane Eyre's turn on Broadway marked a revolution in theatrical lighting- in more ways than one. The setting involves a massive carrousel above the stage to project images onto scrims, a device which was invented to meet the needs of the production which desired to create a show which was clearly a series of memories. Here is a diagram of the device, showing the scrims (which also rotate):

There is performance space between the frames. I have seen some footage showing how this may have worked. For example, during the gypsy scene, the guests are on one side of the device, while the frames (which probably appear as walls) rotate along with a section of the stage (oh, yes, the stage also had several rotating sections- nothing too astonding...) so that one scene slips into the next, and the gypsy is revealled on the other side of the frames as they turn towards the audience.

It will be interesting to see what West End techniques will be used in this production!

Jane Eyre The Musical runs from June 27 to July 1 with performances nightly and matinees on Wednesday and Saturday. The company is offering generous concessions for all those in full time education. Tickets are from £6.50 and are available at the box office on 01253 290190

Now, for some irksome business. Once again, the impression is that this production is a premiere. It is not. The show has already premiered in the UK. But, for some reason, many productions want to claim that theirs is a premiere nowadays (there were about three or four premieres in the US this year, I believe). This one even calls the show a 'new musical' just before mentioning that it opened in 2000 (on Broadway... the show had a run in La Jolla California, and Toronto Canada before that). One or two of my readers should be amused by this as well:

'It is without doubt still a modern day love story.'

Oh, and their poster gives us this interesting news: 'direct from Broadway.' ...The show closed 5 years ago.

1 comment:

laura said...

thankyou for recognising that Blackpool's recent production of Jane Eyre The Musical was NOT the Uk premiere!! i went to see the production and it was a real hardship...as i was the 1st female to play the part of jane Eyre in the REAL UK PREMIERE of the Paul Gordon Musical at the Regent Theatre in Stoke on trent last year!!! i feel very privileged to have been able to play such a strong, passionate and enimatic character. Being jane has changed my life.