Guest post from Isabel Snowden!

Isabel Snowden is the director of An Evening at Home with the Austens, and as we get ready to go on tour, she’s written us a guest blog. Enjoy!

As well as running Ruffled Umbrella, I am privileged enough to work at Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire. One of my favourite tasks there is shutting down the cottage at the end of the day.  While it is always lovely closing the shutters and ‘tucking in’ the house for the night, I felt so much more poignant doing so last week as it was the anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. It struck me as slightly odd but, as I was closing each of the rooms it felt like I was saying goodbye to her, someone whom I had never met and had lived her life centuries before I even began mine. That is one of the beguiling things about Jane Austen, you feel as if you know her. Through the snippets of information left through her novels and correspondence and the recollections of family members, fans of Jane Austen are able to piece together a person they would like to know. People identify with different facets of her personality, the eternal romantic, the modernising feminist or the quick witted satirist but, there is always something for her fans to connect with.

As I was contemplating the mature Jane Austen at the end of her sadly too short life it got me thinking about our upcoming tour and the enjoyment of introducing our audience to a side of Jane Austen they may not know about. The concept of ‘An Evening at Home with the Austens’ is to explore the very early writings of this creative genius and to see her experiment with different styles and scenarios.   In her juvenilia Jane Austen parodies the popular writers of the time, pokes fun at various monarchs and puts her own satirical spin on society’s mores. You can glimpse certain parallels from her novels and see how she started to develop her own style. As well as enjoying stories they may not be familiar with, I hope the audience take pleasure in seeing a young Jane Austen full of energy and enthusiasm, and have a jolly good laugh along with her and her family.

Press Release!

Here’s the official press release for An Evening at Home with the Austens!

Please share on your blog/website/Twitter if you think any of your followers would be interested 🙂 

 

PRESS RELEASE

The Ruffled Umbrella Company presents:

An Evening at Home with the Austens

Ruffled Umbrella, an emerging theatre company from Bath, are bringing their latest production to Cornwall. ‘An Evening at home with the Austens’ is a lively comedy based on the juvenile writings of Jane Austen.

On a midsummer evening, in a rural part of Hampshire, the Austen family are preparing some home theatricals. Jane Austen, her brother Henry and their cousin, Eliza de Feuillide, are putting on a sketch show! Join the Austen family for this evening of fun, interact with the characters as they prepare for their show, and watch as Jane Austen’s satirical writings come to life. With so many loveable characters to portray, girls will play boys and more reluctantly boys will have to play girls in this farcical comedy.

‘An Evening at Home with the Austens’ is a light hearted performance based on the early, unpublished stories Jane Austen wrote as a teenager. This production combines the Austen family’s enthusiasm for creating theatricals, and Jane Austen’s juvenilia to create a modern sketch show in a classical setting. The sketches include the stories of Evelyn, The Three Sisters as well as snippets from The History of England. Meet the family, indulge in the whimsical stories, and join in with a good old fashioned sing-song.

SHORT COPY (48 words)

Created from the rarely used stories written by Jane Austen as a teenager, this farcical piece casts a light on the early workings of this creative genius. Jane and her family decide to put together an evening of parody, satire and silliness in this light-hearted sketch-comedy.

ABOUT THE COMPANY

The Ruffled Umbrella Company is an emerging theatre company based in Bath. Founded four years ago by graduates of Bath Spa University, Ruffled Umbrella create theatre that captivates and surrounds the audience, bringing them into the world of the play. The company has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Festival D’Hiver in Paris, where they won ‘Best Show’, and at Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire.

 

PERFORMANCE DETAILS

Sterts Theatre, Liskeard

Tuesday 23rd July, 07:30 pm

Tickets: £10 (cons. £8, Child £6)

Box Office – http://www.sterts.co.uk

 

The Burrell, Truro

Wednesday 24th July, 07:30 pm

Tickets: £8 (Child £5, Family £22)

Box Office – http://www.crbo.co.uk

The Acorn Theatre, Penzance

Thursday 25th July, 07:30 pm

Tickets: £9 (cons. £7)

Box Office – www.crbo.co.uk

 

 

We’re Ready!

A week tomorrow we’ll be performing our first show in Cornwall – and at the end of our last rehearsal on Friday I definitely felt like we were ready.

When starting the crowdfunding campaign, we thought we would need 5 full days of rehearsal, so were raising enough money to cover those costs. However, as it became clear we wouldn’t reach our target, we initially scheduled just 4 possible rehearsal dates. One of these dates was unavailable, so we booked two, with the possibility of adding a third if needed. Which it didn’t! 

I already talked about our first day back – so on our second day of rehearsal, we went through entrances and exits. I figured out that I only ever enter from stage right, which made the whole thing pretty easy to remember! We then did a run, which went well – apart from a few fluffed lines – so followed with a line run. I’ll be going over my lines every day until the show, and we’ll have the nice long car journey to line run as well. So overalll, we’re feeling pretty geared up!

For those still interested in backing us – its the last day of the campaign – sponsume.com/project/evening-home-austens! I also thought I should let you know about how we’re spending the money that has been donated so far. An amount we haven’t worked out yet will be taken off for the website and for paypal. The rest will be £90 towards rehearsal costs, a donation in thanks for the loan of costumes, and whatever is left we’ll divide between the 3 of us, which will at least go towards expenses!

On the crowdfunding campaign, of course it would have been great to meet our total. I’m not entirely sure why we didn’t get fully funded, but I think these things are still a gamble. It has been an interesting learning curve for me, and I have been enjoying writing this blog. I will definitely continue with this blog until the show is over, and will keep posting whenever I have anything Austen-y to say! This mini-tour to Cornwall won’t be the end of An Evening at Home with the Austens – the hope to tour it again for a longer time is still very much alive! 

Info about the Cornwall tour and ticket bookings are here: http://www.ruffledumbrella.co.uk/RUC/An_Evening_at_Home_with_The_Austens.html

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 https://rediscoveringausten.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/the-flyer-part-2/

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…