Persuasion is having quite a year.
Last December, a charmless modern update called Modern Persuasion – the dull, on-the-nose title gave fair warning of what was to come – went straight to streaming video. This summer, Netflix is shooting a period adaptation starring Dakota Johnson, while a second period adaptation, this one starring Sarah Snook, is in pre-production for Searchlight Pictures.
And now comes word that a new theatrical adaptation of the novel will premiere off-Broadway in September, for a seven-week run. Bedlam, the small company putting on the show, produced an inventive and successful version of Sense and Sensibility in 2014 and 2016, in a screwball adaptation by actor-playwright Kate Hamill.
Although Hamill has gone on to adapt several other Austen novels, Persuasion isn’t one of them: Bedlam’s new show is by Sarah Rose Kearns, an actor-playwright who has been active in the New York City region of the Jane Austen Society of North America and as a member of JASNA’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee.
It’s not clear how long we’ll all have to wait for the dueling films of Austen’s last completed novel. But I, at least, will get a Persuasion fix before then: I’ve got tickets for Bedlam’s production in September. And I can't wait, because you can never have too much Persuasion.