Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

January 15, 2006

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 7:13 pm

You Make Your Own Rainbows

I have been having trouble with Blogger today, which explains the delay in posting today. I have not been idle. Firstly, I would like to inform everyone that there is a new Brontë studies blog, Brontë Parsonage E-Magazine. Little did I think, when I started the first Bronte studies blog this past summer that there would be three in such a short time! Here’s hoping this is only the beginning!

Since yesterday I have been recieving more and more about this ‘other’ Jane Eyre musical. I have some facts to back up the initial impressions, a review, and some more thoughts. This show is interesting from a scholarly stand point because it is contemporaneous to the early run of the most famous musical adaptation, the Gordon/Caird production. While their show played in Toronto, this one was running in Utah. The review is interesting in itself for some of its attitudes towards Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre:

By intermission, nothing terribly exciting has happened yet, plot-wise (well, except for a devil-coiffed crazy woman who emerges from the attic long enough to set Rochester’s bed on fire, but you can’t really count that). This is typical of, ahem, “chick plays” (I’m sorry, but there doesn’t seem to be a politically correct term that expresses the thought nearly so well): heavy on romance, light on plot. Keep those questions understated. Introduce a possible love triangle. Let the characters pour their hearts out to us, but not to each other.

I’m not criticizing this genre of storytelling; I’m merely reporting how it is. And the fact that such dilly-dallying with the narrative doesn’t usually appeal to me any more than, say, reading a Charlotte Bronte novel does, speaks volumes about this play’s accessibility and emotional center. Gollaher and Whitlock give their characters such life, realism and heart that it’s impossible not to be sucked in to their story, no matter how little a “story” there actually is.

Madwomen and people nearly burning to death in their beds is no exciting enough for this reviewer. I wonder what would be. Not having seen the show, I cannot comment on his comments about ‘Chick plays.’ The review seems to imply that the performances are what makes Charlotte’s rather hum-drum romance into something we would actually be interested in. Yet another reason why these musicals are so interesting is to see how often they are criticised because the reviewer fails to see any value in Charlotte’s novel- that the whole idea of making a musical from it is a mistake.

In any case, just ignore the bemused comment about the ‘British accents’ making the actors say “Sin Gin”. Forgive them, for they know not what they say.

Facts about the show: Patricia York, Music by Jerry Williams, based on the novel by Charlotte BronteJuly 1997 – Directed by Rick Mokler, musical direction by David Potter, setting by Patricia Frank, costumes by Janet Freeman, lights by C. Thomson Garey

Lastly, I have transcribed Mr Rochester’s part from a song I just heard today thanks to my source. It has changed my previous impression, that this show is more of a ‘guilty pleasure’ than anything . This song was fun and had me laughing at the right moments. I couldn’t make it all out, so forgive me for any errors. I’ve also removed Jane’s interjections, which amount to “Hmm. I feel strange.” I’ve also tried to make it reasonably clear when he is speaking and singing. Enjoy:

Mr Rochester: It’s a story of a French opera mistress, by name Celine Varens. For whom I once cherished a ‘grande passion’. It was not, however, quite what you may think. To be succinct

no consumate virtue commended her to me,
consumed by my lust: I liked her company.
I liked her perfume, an odor of sanctity.
Amber and musk.
I gave her every comfort and luxury as well-
believe me, in every detail I excelled.
With a stupid exactness I trod the old track
of an idiot bound to ruin and rack.
Then, one evening I waited with quiet delight
in her room as I smoked a cigar by twilight.
Then, hearing her carriage- the one that I gave her-
and seeing her little foot, quickly forgave her
arriving so late-

oh, how I hated to wait!

I leaned on the balcony, bidding a fond: “ah! Mon ange! Mon ange!”

One of those imbecile lover’s emotions
that women are ‘angels’. Ridiculous notion.

Don’t you agree, Miss Eyre? …Miss Eyre? Hum! Well, here comes the blow, Miss Eyre,

turning the whole affair into a pagent of absurd proportions.
I beheld, and recoiled in angry contortions,
ANOTHER MAN!

Have you ever felt jealousy, Miss Eyre? No. Mnn. Of course not. You have never felt love. You have both sentiments yet to experience. Your soul sleeps.

You float like a dreamer out far from the shore
not heeding the breakers that broil and roar
through the channels of love that can dash you to pieces
’till it finally kills you… urgh.. or else it decreases.
As was the case in this small impropriety,
the fellow was simply not worth the anxiety.

He was a rival not worth contending with.

He insulted me coarsely, though not with any wit
She was mercenary, heartless- my sweet hypocrite.
Though she did wax quite brilliantly on my defects, I admit.

Ah, but come, Miss Eyre. Come to the curtain.

Where you shall see at last what a fool I was made.
Put your eye there- don’t be afraid!
I leaped in the room with a confident air
amid screams, protestations, hysterics and prayers
quite forgotten all mouthed ‘a merde!’
She cried: *clears throat, imitates Celine*
“My dearest, my darling, my lover, my pet!
my masculine beauty my taille d’athlete!”

Wherein she differed diametrically from you, Miss Eyre,
Who told me, point blank on the second interview

you did not find me handsome.

I dismissed her,
aquitted her,
offered her my purse.
Then turned, with some pleasure to finally disperse
that brainless rouée, that cavalier cad!
with the chicken wing arms who did beg me and flatter me:
*imitates the vicomte*”Oh! Ah! Oh! S-sp-sp-spare me, Monsieur! Sp-sp-spare me, p-please-se!”

hahahahah!… hem. Well, of course I gratiously forgave all… but not without leaving a nice scar! You must take my word on it, Miss Eyre, it was all satisfactory! The most ridiculous drama one could possibly imagine! But that’s love.

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1 Comment »

  1. Any idea who were the singers in the main roles in the York/Williams show?

    Comment by siansaksa — July 2, 2006 @ 5:45 pm |Reply


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