Jane Austen’s Forgotten Stories – touring production

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“Brimming with overplayed emotions and inappropriate attitudes, Laura Witz’ adaptation of Jane Austen’s early epistolary novel – Love and Freindship – is an utter treat.” (All Edinburgh Theatre)

“…a glad, ludicrous and enjoyable piece where the broad comedy is still clever and effective. A melancholy cello plays on (ironically) while costumes change with bewildering speed from out of a suitcase” (Edinburgh49)

“This is a very fun play … Not only is it fascinating to glimpse a bit of what Jane Austen was like as a girl, but it is a whole lot of fun to see her send up the genre she herself ended up dominating.” (Edinburgh Theatre Review)

 

Jane Austen’s early work, written before the major six novels she is best known for, includes a huge range of stories, sketches, letters and characters.

This material was all written when Austen was probably aged around 11-18 and is fresh, interesting, funny and often hilariously ludicrous. Written only for her family, including her six brothers, the juvenilia isn’t bound by the restrictions of convention in the way that Austen’s main six novels are. It often reflects the young, boisterous imagination of an enthusiastic teenager with an already well formed sense of satire. Most of the work parodies traditional romance forms and the affected manners of the gentry. Consequently, to a modern audience it reads like a parody of Austen’s own style.

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Charlotte Productions has for the last year been working on bringing a number of these forgotten pieces to the stage. 

In January 2014 we premiered a production of Love and Friendship and in September 2014 we were invited to perform this at the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. Love and Friendship is a joyfully silly parody of romantic forms that includes everything from high speed carriage chases and inept thieves to a heroine who suffers from repeated fainting fits.

quote2We also have produced adaptations of Catherine, A History of England and Lesley Castle, all of which have been performed to a test audience and are being developed further. These three short texts tell the story of a young woman and her aunt fearful of the dangerous influence of young gentlemen, a potted history of the British monarchy that parodies history textbooks of the time, and a parody of the delicate sensibilities of the gentry respectively.

Performed in a sketch comedy style, our adaptations all draw on the comedy of these writings to create short, energetic plays that are entertaining, silly and fun. The plays are family friendly and whilst they naturally appeal to Austen fans as an introduction to new work, they have also proved popular with new audiences because of the parodic and silly style. The work pulls away from the traditional representation of period drama as slow, quiet and romantic to create an active, energy-infused drama in which a love story is only a source of further comedy.

 

The plays are designed to be flexible and can be performed in a range of venues as well as adapted to suit the venue available.

The actors are onstage for the full performance so the plays do not require a backstage area or wings. Similarly, the plays can be adapted to work in a space that doesn’t have a stage or stage lighting. Our only completely necessary requirements are a stage space of at least 4m squared and a sound system that can operate a CD or be connected to a computer. If performing in a traditional black box theatre we can run on a standard rig. Due to the nature of the show, the set is minimal and all provided by the company.quote3

 

Fees are negotiable and adaptable according to the size of the venue and costs involved.

Advance booking is preferable as it allows us to sort other dates in the area and book travel and accommodation in advance. We are a company of five actors based in Edinburgh, plus one tech person and a producer depending on the requirements of the tour. Costs will of course take account of the distance we have to travel.

 

Please send us an email if you would like any further information, would like to see more performance videos, look at parts of the script, or speak to one of the team.