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  • Deborah Yaffe

High-camp Jane Austen

After a year that brought not one but two same-sex updates of Pride and Prejudice, we probably don’t need further proof that the queering of Jane Austen is well underway. But in case you’re not yet convinced, there’s more: a theatrical Austen parody/homage entitled Hubris & Humiliation is coming to next year’s WorldPride festival in Sydney, Australia.


The new play sets its story in contemporary Sydney and offers “a jumbo-sized serving of Austen-inspired queer joy,” says its author, Australian playwright Lewis Treston. The show is “a high-camp exploration of love, family and commitment topped off with a twist of Regency period charm,” according to the online Australian arts magazine AussieTheatre.


Hubris & Humiliation will run at the Sydney Theatre Company from January 20 to March 4. But for those of us who are unlikely to get to Australia in the next few months, recent news suggested that we might be getting a further helping of queer Austen closer to home.


Last month, it was widely reported that Joel Kim Booster, the American actor and writer who wrote and starred in Hulu’s same-sex P&P update Fire Island, hasn’t finished with Our Jane yet. During November's Gotham Awards, where the movie collected a special ensemble prize, Booster told IndieWire that he might be interested in making queer-themed screen adaptations of other Austen novels.


“Every time I read a Jane Austen book, I’m always like, ‘Oh, how can we make this gay?’ “ Booster said. “I need to try other things before I return to a Jane Austen adaptation. But it’s not off the table, for sure.”


Apparently, however, the widespread publicity given to this stray remark spooked Booster, who told British Vogue a few weeks later that his interest in gay Austen updates had been greatly exaggerated. "It was a joke," he said. "I don’t want to be pigeonholed as the gay Jane Austen guy. That sounds awful.”


Which of course means that if, unlike Booster, you don't mind being pigeonholed as the gay Jane Austen guy, there's a job opening.

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