Deborah Yaffe


By Deborah Yaffe, Apr 9 2020 01:00PM

At this point, roughly three weeks into All-American Shelter at Home, you -- the average Janeite -- have probably watched, or re-watched, your entire collection of filmed Jane Austen adaptations.

The first week, you gorged on the really good stuff – the cinematic comfort food: the Colin Firth-Jennifer Ehle Pride and Prejudice, the Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility, Clueless.

The second week, you turned to the mediocre, unnourishing, but acceptable choices -- the filmic equivalents of Cheetos: the Mormon Pride and Prejudice, the 1983 British mini-series of Mansfield Park, the Gwyneth Paltrow Emma.

By last week, down to nothing but stale crumbs, you were scraping the bottom of a very deep barrel: Billie Piper as Fanny Price, Sally Hawkins chasing Captain Wentworth through the streets of Bath, even – God forbid – Scents and Sensibility.

And now it’s Week Four, and the cupboard is bare. Soon, you’ll be gnawing on your own leg.

Luckily, however, some intrepid artists have stepped forward to keep self-cannibalism at bay just a little while longer:

* Tomorrow night, a new musical adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Tony-nominated composer Paul Gordon will stream for free at 6:30 and 10 pm (Eastern). P&P is the latest offering of Streaming Musicals, a hybrid of live and recorded theater that launched eighteen months ago with a production of Gordon’s Emma.

To watch the free premiere of P&P, you’ll need to register ahead of time; if you can’t make it tomorrow night, the show will be available to buy (for $19.99) or rent ($4.99) later on.

* Through next Wednesday, the small Washington D.C. theater company We Happy Few is streaming a video recording of its fall 2019 production of Lovers’ Vows, by Elizabeth Inchbald. As Janeites will recall, it’s this hit play of 1798 that the wayward Bertram and Crawford siblings choose for their ill-fated home theatricals in Mansfield Park.

You can watch any time you like, in return for a donation of whatever you can afford. The company recommends at least $5, which seems a small price to pay to understand why Sir Thomas was scandalized. And also to save your leg.

By Deborah Yaffe, Jul 7 2014 01:00PM

An informative and interesting recent post on the British Library’s European Studies blog about August von Kotzebue, a late eighteenth-century/early nineteenth-century German dramatist with a cameo role in the world of Jane Austen.

As readers of Mansfield Park – or, really, readers of scholarly footnotes to Mansfield Park – will recall, it is Elizabeth Inchbald’s translation of Kotzebue’s play, under the title “Lovers’ Vows,” that the daring young people of Mansfield decide to perform in Sir Thomas Bertram’s absence.

Although I’m not one of those Janeites who loves probing every detail of daily life in Austen’s day, I enjoyed this foray into Regency culture. And how can anyone resist a writer who titled one of his essays, “Why Do I Have So Many Enemies?”

Quill pen -- transparent BookTheWriter transparent facebook twitter