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Written by: Mel Dodge
Directed by: Lyndee-Jane Rutherford
Charlotte Bronte has a secret. In fact secrets seem to run in the family…
Directed by award winning Lyndee-Jane Rutherford. Written and performed by Mel Dodge using the letters and novels of Charlotte Bronte, along with the many biographical works about her life. Miss Bronte tells a story of ambition, forbidden love and the bond of a family. How could an unmarried woman living in a secluded parsonage, with only her sisters for company, write one of the world’s greatest love stories? She had tasted love and her secrets echo in the pages of Jane Eyre.
‘It’s fascinating to hear about the true characters that inspired the fiction.’ Advertiser Adelaide
‘Mel Dodge brings the literary world of the Bronte family to life with a riveting performance. Dodge transported us back to a time when words were written in pen, on paper; when one could crave a response to a letter that might be weeks or months in the coming; and you sensed, perhapsfelt, the value of words. Superb.’ Rip it Up Adelaide
Starring Mel Dodge
21 February − 15 March
Tuesday – Saturday 7.30pm
Running time approx 75 minutes (no interval)
$33 Concession and Friends of Circa
$25 Under 25s
$25 Sunday Special 23 February
Powerful Performance, Skillfully Directed
BY LAURIE ATKINSON, THE DOMINION POST, 24 FEBRUARY 2014
Though it opened on the first night of the Festival,Miss Bronte isn’t part of it. However it could well be, for Mel Dodge’s outstanding performance and Lyndee-Jane Rutherford’s polished direction have produced something special with this solo play about Charlotte Bronte.
Charlotte takes the audience into her world of the tiny vicarage on the bleak Yorkshire Moors and to Brussels with Emily where they worked as teachers, and through the traumatic days with their alcoholic, laudanum addicted brother, Branwell, and his death, followed three months later by Emily’s and then in the following year by Anne’s.
Only Branwell didn’t use writing as an escape from their cloistered lives, but his sisters threw all their desires, emotions and frustrations into poems and novels, often barely bothering to disguise the personal details.
In the play Charlotte tosses papers, letters and books (whose covers are also unobtrusive chronological guides for the audience) all over the floor in anger, frenzy, unrequited love, and comic emphasis throughout the play’s 75 minutes.
Charlotte’s letters, poems and novels, as well those of her sisters, and comments by her critics have been judiciously filleted and used to illuminate the events of their lives, and to expose Charlotte’s heartbreaking emotional life, of which we are given a bitter-sweet and unusual coda as we leave the theatre.
But what comes across most strongly and very powerfully is the strength of character necessary to cope with, as Charlotte puts it, the dependency of single women. Though most Victorians agreed with Poet Laureate Robert Southey, an admirer of Charlotte, when he wrote that “Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be”, she persevered with her writing all her life.
Mel Dodge’s performance burns bright with this perseverance and stoicism as her eyes express her anger, sorrow and determination and makes the play so much more than a lesson in English Lit.
Dining Show Special for Miss Bronte
Encore at Circa
Petit pate a la creme;
mini chocolate eclair, almond paris brest, profiterole l’orange, coulis ($13)
Running time approx. 75 minutes (no interval).
Proudly supported by Peter Biggs CNZM and Mary Biggs