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Jane Austen News – Issue 49

Jane Austen News is Bath!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   

 

 Jane Austen’s England – Limited Edition   

Jane Austen Festival 2016American travel company Peregrine Adventures have an excellent Jane Austen literary tour planned for 2017. The limited edition tour is timed to commemorate the 200th year anniversary of Jane Austen’s death and will visit destinations in Southern England significant to Jane Austen’s life (including Bath and the Jane Austen Centre). It will also include towns and cities that inspired her work (such as Lyme Regis), and visit film locations where some of the films based on her novels have been shot. Highlights include a regency dance class with an expert in historical dance, and a talk about regency fashion with a period costume expert. The tour will be led by a Peregrine leader, but there will be various local expert guides at different locations within the tour, some of whom are members of the Jane Austen Society.

Having looked at the full programme we’re rather impressed. So if you’re looking for a thorough tour of Jane Austen’s England, but don’t fancy trying to plan your own, this might be of interest as your summer holiday next year? The eight day tour begins on June the 12th, and we’re looking forward to welcoming the Peregrine tour group to the centre on the 16th.


Trend Setter – Mr Darcy and his Christmas Jumper   

Colin Firth was certainly responsible for the wet-shirt obsession which gripped much of the nation following his performance in 636167664517412268-d-bridget-jones-dvd-29-13635165the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, in which (as we needed to remind you), Firth, while playing Mr Darcy, jumps into a lake on Pemberley estate and emerges as a water-drenched heart throb. However, it seems that Mr Firth, while playing another incarnation of Mr Darcy (stuffy lawyer Mark Darcy in 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary) may also be the source of the novelty Christmas jumper trend.

The original sweater went through many designs because it had to be just right. The character of Mr. Darcy is a constipated English prig when we first meet him so we needed something totally ridiculous to pierce that pomposity. And for some reason neither Santas nor X-mas trees nor snowmen worked as well as that red-nosed moose or reindeer we chose. It also had to look home-knit, something his mother knitted for him.

Sharon Maguire, director of all three films in the Bridget Jones franchise.

Mr Darcy – novelty Christmas jumper trend-setter. It’s certainly not a connection we at the Jane Austen News would have automatically made! It’s an interesting thought though.


Lucy Worsley on Jane Austen at Cambridge Arts Theatre

lucyworsleyFor those of you who, like us at the Jane Austen News, have been watching and enjoying the wonderful BBC Television series on Henry VIII’s six wives presented by historian Lucy Worsley, this upcoming event may be of interest. Lucy will be at Cambridge Arts Theatre presenting At Home with Jane Austen on Sunday May 7th 2017, dispelling the myth that she was a cynical, lonely spinster.

During the evening, Lucy will consider what home meant to Jane and tells her story through the rooms, spaces, possessions and places that mattered to her; offering audience members a snapshot of “a witty and passionate woman of her time, who refused to settle for anything less than Mr Darcy.” This event is also a prelude to Lucy’s forthcoming new book, At Home with Jane Austen.

It’s an event that’s a little way in advance it’s true, but it is one that we’re sure will sell out – which is why we’re mentioning it now. (Tickets for anyone wishing to go are available from the Cambridge Arts Theatre website.)


Love & Friendship Tops the Polls Again   

Love & Friendship has triumphed in another top-films-of-the-year chart.love-and-friendship-image-16

In the Sunday World newspaper’s rundown of the best films of 2016 Love & Friendship has come in at number 10, and beat the likes of X-Men: Apocalypse, Star Trek Beyond, Ghostbusters, and other highly anticipated films. The paper published a few of the reasons why Love & Friendship had had to have a place in the top films:

Austen screen adaptations are generally mined for their sweeping romance, but Stillman parks the heaving bosoms for pure comedy, and the resulting film is a joy.

We are reminded what a witty, socially observational writer Austen was, and how she and Stillman make great collaborators two centuries apart.

Droll, funny and refreshingly unsentimental, Love & Friendship is one of the sharpest and wittiest takes on Austen yet.


Northanger Abbey in Eastbourne  

image-7As part of the celebrations in 2017 to mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, an ambitious stage adaptation of Northanger Abbey will be presented from Monday February 20th to Wednesday February 22nd at Devonshire Park Theatre.

The adaptation, by acclaimed Austen specialist Tim Luscombe, has been described as “a delight – witty, fast moving and stylish – and a perfect way to celebrate a great writer.” Previously Tim Luscombe’s version of Mansfield Park was produced and toured in 2012 and 2013. This adaptation of Northanger Abbey will be directed by Artistic Director Karen Simpson with an eight-strong cast and was first produced by York Theatre Royal in 2004, Salisbury Playhouse in 2007 (followed by a tour), and in 2010 at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, and in 2013 in Chicago at the Remy Bumppo Theatre.


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Jane Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Jane Austen Online Magazine.

Don’t miss our latest news – become a Jane Austen Member and receive a digest of stories, articles and news every week. You will also be able to access our online Magazine with over 1000 articles, test your knowledge with our weekly quiz and get offers on our Online Giftshop. Plus new members get an exclusive 10% off voucher to use in the Online Giftshop.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 35

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Pride and Prejudice At The Ballet      

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Stage adaptations of Jane Austen have become increasingly popular in recent years (we look at one such adaptation later on in this week’s Jane Austen News). We’ve had one-woman shows, Jane Austen musicals, Jane Austen improv, but one we personally haven’t come across before is one of Jane Austen’s novels staged as a ballet. However Ballet Fantastique will be doing just that. Their first show of the 2016-17 season is bringing back a 2012 premiere, Pride and Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet.

“We’re taking the classic Jane Austen novel and remixing it with 1920s Paris,” said their marketing director Katey Finley in a recent interview. “A live band will be wearing snazzy suits and playing live period jazz along with great choreography, like doing The Charleston en pointe.”

How fantastic is that?!


A Book Of One’s Own

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Orion recently bought the novel Perception by Terri Fletcher, which will chronicle the life of Mary Bennet, the third Bennet sister, after Jane, Elizabeth and Lydia leave Longbourne. In the past all of the Bennet sisters have at one time or another seen the spotlight and had new adventures written about them, but a recent blog post by Alicia Kort has got us thinking on the subject of literary women whose stories deserve further exploration. What other strong female characters in literature deserve their own novels but as of yet haven’t been given one?

Alicia suggests; Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter series), Dasiy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby), Teresa Agnes (The Maze Runner), and Sam Dutton (The Perks of Being a Wallflower). These are all great suggestions, but at the Jane Austen News we can think of more than just the Bennet sisters who could fill a book of their own. The tale of Mrs Norris’s first love anyone?


Sense and Sensibility Too Sensible?    
wk-stage0916-3The New York theatre company Bedlam is staging a new adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, but rather than focusing primarily on the romance of the story, director and co-founder Eric Tucker wants to bring out the comedy within the novel that he feels is all too often overlooked.

To do this Tucker is making the play more minimalist and modern. He’s getting rid of detailed backdrops and putting wheels on all of the furniture so it can be easily moved, and used; when a young woman is fleeing social judgment she scoots away on a chair, only to be pursued by the gossips on their own mobile seating. Tucker uses physical theatre and a brisk pace to bring out the wit that he feels can be lost in a lot of adaptations.

A lot of the movie versions of Austen tamp down the comedy and make the stories period-piece melodrama. I didn’t want that. I wanted it to be raw and modern. One of the reviews said our ‘Sense and Sensibility’ was Dickensian. I liked that. Our production in New York was very bawdy, and it surprised people who thought they didn’t like Austen. But she was pretty wicked in her letters — very gossipy, saying the most awful things about people.

Eric Tucker

At the Jane Austen News we wish them the best of luck with their new production. Jane had so much wit and so many comedic moments in her novels and this is not always remembered; we think she’d approve.


What Made Colin Firth Reject Mark Darcy    

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With the recent UK release of Bridget Jones’s Baby, Colin Firth has been giving quite a few interviews to help promote the film, and, of course, in a fair few of them the subject of Mr Darcy comes up. One that caught our eye was an interview he gave to Eric Eisenberg for CinemaBlend.com. In the interview Firth talks about how, even following such amazing success with the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice where he played a modern traditional Darcy, he originally turned down the role of Mark Darcy who he plays in the Bridget Jones films.

I started off thinking there was no way in with that character. I originally turned it down, because I didn’t think… how do you play this guy who doesn’t do anything really? He just sort of stands around and scowls and looks imperious. And I thought, ‘Well, sure, I can do that, but will anyone give a damn? It’s not appealing!

Happily he kept the role in mind and eventually came round to the idea thinking:

‘Well, maybe there’s something fun in that. You don’t have to be charming. You just have to be incredibly distant and dislikable.’ And I thought, ‘That’s pretty liberating!’ So that was an incentive.

We didn’t know he’d turned the role down at first, but we’re glad he changed his mind! It’s hard to imagine the Bridget Jones films or the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice being such a success without him.


Unleashing Mr Darcy   
90And from one Mr Darcy to another.

Another modern film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice has been made and just released by Hallmark.

In this version of Pride & Prejudice, Elizabeth Scott (Cindy Busby) decides to show her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in a dog show in New York, but she clashes with the arrogant judge Donovan Darcy (Ryan Paevey). In true Jane Austen fashion, Elizabeth learns that Mr. Darcy is far more kind and interesting than she ever imagined.

In this video Ryan Paevey talks about his views on Darcy, and just why his Darcy finds Lizzy so attractive and irritating. Some clips from the film and more details can be found here.


Love and Friendship   

loveetcThere’s less than a week to go before Whit Stillman’s film adaptation of Love and Friendship is released on DVD in the UK, and we can’t wait! It’s due out on Monday 26th September and we have the date marked on our calendar. Though if you’re a U.S. Jane Austen fan you don’t have to wait because the DVD came out in the U.S. on September 6th. We’re a little jealous…


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Jane Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Jane Austen Online Magazine.

Don’t miss our latest news – become a Jane Austen Member and receive a digest of stories, articles and news every week. You will also be able to access our online Magazine with over 1000 articles, test your knowledge with our weekly quiz and get offers on our Online Giftshop. Plus new members get an exclusive 10% off voucher to use in the Online Giftshop.