Jane Eyre

By Kelly

I have never read Jane Eyre¸ but I have heard it referred to as a great classic novel.  I was excited to go and see this stage production, so that I could finally see the story. I did not know much about it except for a small paragraph about the general plot of the movie from the internet before I walked into the theatre, so I definitely felt like I was seeing it with new eyes, and so it was very interesting considering what I thought the show was going to be. When I first read the small synopsis, it had seemed like a very inspiring story that would have been a huge step for women in literature. I did not expect much and while show was still enjoyable, the show was not what I had thought it would be like. I still believe that it was effective in what its intentions were, but I also believe that there were some things that were very drawn out and did not help the show.

In the first act, there were a few things that were not very helpful in pushing the plot along. Quite a few times, it seemed like it was “disjointed,” and shortened in effort to help the time of the show. It was clear that they were attempting to fit as much of the book into the show as possible. However, there were times that the show felt pulled out for very little reason, such as the carriage scenes. While each carriage scene got shorter, the first one was quite long and did not help the audience understand what was going on. I think the audience got mixed signals about the show in that sense. There were some short scenes that jumped from situation to situation with young Jane Eyre, and while it was still possible to follow, there was something about the transitions that personally made me uncomfortable for some reasons. It may have been because the characters transitioned scenes so quickly and without notice that it felt rushed in a way. There was interesting choreography, but it never felt natural. This may have been the intention of the actors to show that this show was not meant to be realism, but I do not personally feel that it completely worked with the characters and the basic plot.

There were a few things that I believe did work well, both in the script, casting, and the production of the show. The lights and cues were very well done, and the costume changes were very smooth, and even powerful at some points, like when Jane is choosing to put on her wedding dress. I thought it was very intriguing how the different actors played different characters. I got the sense that it was a way of showing how Jane’s past would stay with her, and how it helped define her. She saw some parts of each person from her past in people she met. That was the same sense that I got when the other actors ended up being part of her thought process, asking questions she was asking herself and giving answers as she made big decisions.

Unfortunately, I could not entirely get behind this production. I’m not sure that the actors really made me care about the characters, which I believe is important in any show that is really trying to say something. I was able to follow the plot easier as I got used to the abstract way they decided to portray the story, but I still believe some of the moments that were meant to be powerful were undercut because t was hard to tell exactly what was supposed to be going on and what the audience were supposed to be feeling. I do believe that the use of music throughout the show was interesting, especially with the live band on stage that very rarely interacted, except to play extra children in the school scenes.

This show was very interesting from beginning to end, and it picked up about halfway through the first act. However, in the end, I am not sure that it was as effective for me as they had meant it to be.

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By Mitch

This show was the show that I had the most trouble with while on this trip. It wasn’t that it was bad, I just had trouble getting into it. The show did not really draw me in and what they were trying to accomplish did not seem to work for me. Once I heard that we were seeing a production of Jane Eyre, I was immediately excited because I have seen a film production of Jane Eyre and the story of the character Jane, really interested me and what she goes through in the story. I was very disappointed in the show because I had very high hopes for it. However, there were some positive qualities of the show and I felt that the show started to pick up once Edward Rochester arrived and the second act was much better than the first.

I felt that the entire first act was very slow in the beginning. It did not really pick up for me until the arrival of the character, Edward Rochester that the show started taking off. The set design was very different and it was not a positive quality of the show. I was sitting in the front row and there were points where I had trouble seeing characters who were speaking because they were in the center of the balcony that they built and I started to get a little frustrated because I wanted to see who was speaking. There were times where I was very confused on which actor was portraying who. There was on instance where an actress was playing two different characters but she was wearing the same costume and I had to remember who she was portraying because I noticed that she was wearing the same costume. Once the actors were wearing different costumes for the different characters they were playing, I felt that the actors did very well when they had to portray different characters. I was not very keen in having the actress onstage while Jane was a baby and having her cry. I understood what the production was doing because they wanted Jane onstage the entire time but I was not a fan of having her onstage and crying like a baby. I felt that the production could have begun with her already as a child and not have the scene with her as a baby.

I did feel however, having Jane on stage the entirety of the show, worked very well for me because this is her story and it was almost like we were seeing the play through her eyes. I also thought the use of actors portraying voices in her head worked for me as well because it shows the aspect of Jane that sometimes when someone is by themselves, the only thing they have left are their thoughts and I felt the voices really worked. Once Edward Rochester arrived, I felt the show really picked up the energy and it really started to work for me because now the story of Jane and Edward would now start to come into fruition. The scenes with Rochester and Jane were the best quality of the show because both actors were portraying their characters very well and I really got a sense of danger between the two. It was almost like both of the characters knew that it could be very dangerous for them to be together and I felt that the actors made it work.

The last two qualities that worked for me was the actor who played the dog and the actress who played the wife of Rochester. The actor who played the dog worked for me because I felt that he brought a sense of comedy to a very sad story. Every time the dog arrived onstage, I felt a sense of fun and a sense of calm because the actor portrayed the dog very well. I also thought the actress who played the wife did very well. The choice of having her onstage almost as much as Jane worked for me because it made it seem that she was always lurking in the shadows. Her singing voice was splendid as well and I thought that every time she sang, the play was at its best because she was singing for the character Jane and at some points, singing for both Jane and the wife of Rochester. There were points where I was almost in tears due to the emotion that the actress was bringing while she was singing and I felt that was what made the show and not break it.

The show, Jane Eyre, had a little trouble with really getting going in the first act and I thought the show was very odd with having the actress playing Jane Eyre, come on stage and cry like a baby. The many actors portraying many characters was confusing at first but once they started changing their costumes I felt that they were much better. Once Rochester arrived and I saw Jane and Rochester start to speak to one another and the singing of Rochester’s wife then did I really see the show for what it was and it finally started to working for me.