I’m Back!!

I have been very lax about this blog since the tour of An Evening at Home with the Austens finished. Very sorry about that! I have now decided to start it up again, as Pemberley Digital have some lovely offerings I’ve yet to watch. I started Welcome to Sanditon, but never finished it, and now there’s Emma as well. Slightly nervous about Emma, as its my favourite book by Austen, but fingers crossed!

Also, the BBC version of Death Comes to Pemberley is on my Sky+ Box, waiting to be watched, so will be recording my thoughts on that too. 

For now though – toodles! 


Pride and Prejudice – Re-read complete!

Sorry I’ve not posted for a while. I was away with work at the weekend, and have not been feeling particularly well the last couple of days. However, I have now FINALLY finished my re-read of Pride and Prejudice, part of the challenge set by Little White Dove(I very much recommend her blog, if you don’t already follow it: http://thedovenest.wordpress.com/)

Here are some of my thoughts:

Mr and Mrs Gardiner – how did I completely forget about them? They are definitely the nicest – and I expect happiest – of the elder generation in the novel. And I also didn’t remember how important they are to the plot in meaning Elizabeth runs into Darcy again. Do they feature in any of the adaptations?

Arg. I wrote much more than this but WordPress has deleted it! I’m afraid I’m going to leave it at that one thought for now as I’m not feeling 100% still – will add more thoughts either later or tomorrow!

The Lydia Bennet

As I’ve mentioned in recent posts, I fairly recently started watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Like a lot of other viewers, I completely fell in love by the portrayal of Lydia, and yesterday I sat down to watch the spin-off. If you haven’t watched them yet, I’m going to talk about what they decided to do to update them, so if you don’t want to know, stop reading now!

It was fantastic. Mary Kate Wiles deserves a lot of credit for this, as should this list of very talented folk: Jay Bushman,Hank Green, Rachel Kiley, Jenni Powell and Bernie Su.

When reading Pride and Prejudice, the Lydia storyline always fascinated me. When I took part in a readathon for the 200th Anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, I was excited that the chapter I got is the one focused on what happened with her and Wickham. When watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I was wondering what the writers would decide to do to update it. I thought she would either get married in Vegas(which the writers must have expected, as they sent her there to fool us!) or George would get her pregnant. The decision for it to be a sex tape was a much better choice I think, and it was this storyline that made me cry while watching the diaries. Seeing Lydia crushed by George’s betrayal and then watching her videos leading up to it are heartbreaking. You can see how lonely she is, and how inferior she feels to her sisters, and that is why she turns to George. Who also manages to come off as very charming – though I think discussing Wickham will have to be saved for another post. 

It was nice to see what drove her to that relationship with George, which I always felt wasn’t completely explored in the book(though I may be wrong – I’m rereading it at the moment so will keep you posted on if that opinion changes). And whether or not they were truly in love.

The one plus of the modern day version is that Lydia doesn’t have to stay with George. In the book she ends up marrying him, and as that is seen as fixing everything, I’ve always wanted to know more. Were they happy? Did he ever really love her? The third question – one which The Lydia Bennet has answered for me was – what drove her to it? Because we get to see it from her point of view, in the web series version, we can see what it is like for her being the youngest sister. It is quite clear in Pride and Prejudice that Elizabeth is Mr Bennet’s favourite, and Jane’s is Mrs Bennet’s and were it not for the story with Wickham, Lydia may have been forgotten in the way Kitty and Mary are.(Though I think the decision to make them a cat and a cousin respectively was a good on in LBD)

What the Lydia Bennet alongside The Lizzie Bennet Diaries have done, is remind me of the universality and timelessness of falling in love – and especially considering Lydia’s story – a broken heart.

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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_12644&feature=iv&src_vid=jucS6hxGMMw&v=lMa5Oi44SwE

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! http://thedovenest.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/im-not-to-blame/ 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 

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