Multi-rolling in An Evening at Home with the Austens

Multi-Rolling in “An Evening at Home with The Austens”

As I’ve previously mentioned, my rediscovery of Jane Austen was being cast as Eliza de Feuillde(you have no idea how long it took me to work out how to pronounce that) in “An Evening at Home with Austens”. However, I’m not just playing Eliza, I’m playing Eliza playing lots of other characters.

I am now sat here with my script and I’m going through all the characters I play:

In Evelyn: Mrs. Willis, Narrator, William, Mr Webb, Maria Webb, a Servant and Mr Davenport.

In The Three Sisters: Mary Stanhope. And actually just Mary Stanhope. Which is just as well, as she talks ALOT.

Those are our two main sections. We also have extracts from A History of England in which I play Henry 4th(with a mask) and narrate Mary Tudor.

Then there’s Sir William Montague. A short story about a man who falls in love with lots of women. Its just over a page in length, and I play, in this order:

A Miss Clifton, Narrator, the 1st September, Miss Arudel. Narrator, Miss Wentworth.

The whole style of the piece is in that of a sketch show, so these characters are portrayed by exaggerated body language, silly voices and lots and lots of hats.

If you’re in Cornwall in July, check out the flyer I’ve previously posted to see if it will be near you

If not – never fear, in the next week or so I’ll be letting you know how you can get hold of a script or copy of the DVD…

The Lizzie Bennett Diaries

When I first got cast in “An Evening at Home with the Austens” I started trawling the internet for blogs, fan fiction, websites and videos based on Jane Austen’s work, as I felt I was a bit rusty! It was then I first came across  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but only made it to about episode 3 when I thought there were probably more useful ways for me to spend my preparation time. Like learning lines. But now, in the period between our first performance back in April, and our mini-tour in July, I have had the time to revisit the diaries. I started yesterday. I’m now on Episode 51.

Does this count as an addiction?

As well as this, I’m also re-reading Pride and Prejudice. Why both at once?  Because Little White Dove set it as a challenge! I’m only on the Extended Version as I don’t own either the film or the BBC mini-series. And as you can tell by how many videos I’ve watched, I’m doing pretty well!

My thoughts so far, on both The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and my re-reading of Pride and Prejudice.

I was wary of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries when I first started watching them, and didn’t expect them to be quite as funny, well written and truthful to the story of the book. I think the choices of how to update it are brilliant – issues around debt rather than female inheritance, the decision on whether to take a high paying job which means leaving your education rather than marrying for practicality and there being a visiting swim team rather than the militia.

As I’ve mentioned before, the Mr Bennet and Mrs Bennet relationship is one of my favourites, even though sometimes(alright, a lot of the time) it seems like they don’t like each other – or their children – much. I’ve always read it as them being an exaggeration of what parents are – so the fact that they are only seen in the Diaries as Lizzie and one or other member of the cast dressed up as them, captures that perfectly.(I don’t know if they will appear later on – I really hope they do!)

I also love the Charlotte and Lizzie relationship and that you see that argument when Charlotte agrees to take the job. I think this version treats Charlotte better than any other I’ve seen – as a clever, pragmatic and funny woman rather than as the dowdy and dull one she is often portrayed as. She is Elizabeth Bennet’s best friend – surely that is enough of an argument to show how interesting she is? Anyway – I could go on defending Charlotte on for a very long time but now onto my surprise at Mr Darcy.

I did not remember how much you hear of Mr Darcy, and of his opinions, thoughts and feelings for Elizabeth from very early on in the book. I have always remembered it as being from Elizabeth’s point of view, so the reader agrees with her until he turns out to be nice. Whereas actually the reader knows he really likes her all along! My mind was boggled. In terms of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I still haven’t seen him yet…and this version actually IS from Lizzie’s point of view. But, obviously, we all know how it will turn out in the end!

And finally Jane Bennet. In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries she is amazingly sweet. I love her and Elizabeth’s relationship, and her heartbreak at Bing Lee leaving without telling her nearly made me cry. I felt for this Jane more than the Jane in the book. I’m not sure why, I just do.

And before I finish – Lydia is hilarious. When I’m done with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I’m moving on to Lydia’s 🙂 

Anyway, I’m hope that slightly mixed up comparison between the two was an enjoyable read! Tomorrow you’ll start to here more about the production I’m in “An Evening at Home with the Austens”


Jane Austen and Sci Fi

For those of you who read my post yesterday, you’ll know that Sci-Fi was voted over Jane Austen as a theme for Box Revels(all weekend party in my village). As I tend to have more than one book on the go at once, I’m currently reading both Pride and Prejudice and War of the Worlds. And that got me thinking – in all the various sequels, modernisations, alternative versions of Jane Austen’s work are there any in a Sci-Fi vein? I know of the modernisations – Clueless, Bride and Prejudice, the horror – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the re-writes – Lost in Austen to name a few. But are there any set in the future? Or in space, like The Forbidden Planet is to The Tempest? I’m gathering a list of Austen-esque books to read, and would love to add a sci-fi one if any exists! Please comment if you know of any 🙂

Phoebe x 

Jane Austen and Humour

As I mentioned a few days ago, I have started re-reading Pride and Prejudice. Every time I read it, the first chapter is my favourite. Mr and Mrs Bennet’s relationship is hilarious, and the humour is what I like best about Austen. I have read somewhere that everyone has their own reason – the romance, the era in which its set, the social commentary etc etc, and while I love all those, the reason I like her books so much is that they make me laugh. I think that’s why Emma is my favourite 🙂 

Its also why I loved doing “An Evening at Home with the Austens”. Its based on Jane’s early work which is much more satirical and surreal then her novels. There’s “Three Sisters” about the marriage market, “A History of England by a partial prejudiced and ignorant historian” and “Evelyn” about a world without logic. Its a lot of fun – especially as we multi-role and cross-dress. The flyer about the production is on an earlier post is you want to find out more! I’ll be writing some more blog posts about the production over the next few weeks, and hopefully a guest post from our director too!

Where I’ve been…

Helloo! So, as you may have noticed, I’ve not been around for a few days. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll notice I’ve not been there either. Why? Because I was on the committee for Box Revels! Box Revels is a big all weekend celebration on the second May bank holiday in my village. The Friday night was the Banquet(fish and chips, ice cream, live entertainment) a vintage fair on the Saturday, and an open air screening of the Hunger Games in the evening, interpub cricket on the Sunday and a barn dance in the evening, and a big fete day on the Saturday. So I’ve been pretty busy since Thursday! But what does this have to do with Jane Austen? Well, if the vote on the theme had gone differently, it would have been Regency for the 200th Anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, rather than Sci-Fi for the 50th Anniversary for Doctor Who.(We had a Tardis though, which was pretty awesome) Anyway, I hope to catch you up on some more Jane Austeness soon, including my trip to buy some Jane Austen inspired books 🙂


Pride and Prejudice starring Me!

I blogged the other day about my performing in scenes from Pride and Prejudice – however, this was not the first time I got to star in the novel.

When I was at drama school my housemates got me a personalised classic. If you’ve not come across these before, they are books that are printed with the names of the characters changed to suit the person who the gift is for. So I am there as Phoebe Bennet, with Mr Darcy as himself(as I was single at the time!), my housemates who are a couple as Miss Bennet and Mr Bingley and my other housemate as Lydia. Their names were of course changed in the book, but don’t want to share their identity without position. If I can get permission, I’ll edit it later. Finally, Wickham became Richard Wickham, named after a cuddly toy raven my housemate got from the tower of London, and became a bit of a house mascot. Strange I know, but we had quite a geeky house for for students, and turned our spare room into a library.(Which was awesome)

Anyway, as I’ve decided to re-read all of the Austen novels, I thought why not read the one in which I star 🙂

Phoebe x