Department of Performing Arts
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THE BRITS ARE BACK!
Eastern Connecticut State University and The Youth Action Theatre of England will present George Eliot's ADAM BEDE as adapted for the stage by Geoffrey Beevers at The Harry Hope Theatre in Shafer Hall (corner of High and Valley Streets in Willimantic) on Thursday, August 6th through Saturday, August 8th at 8pm. Summer '98 marks the third summer residency of YAT at Eastern. Directed by Eric Yardley, founder of YAT in 1970, this summer's presentation is an adaptation of a well-loved classical novel. Mr. Yardley states that "In this rich and often humorous portrayal of 18th century rural English life, the playwright remained true to its author" as this brilliant adaptation "manages to convey the warmth and simple wisdom of the original" tale of seduction and passion which "leads to such tragic consequences which affects the whole community." The play promises to please its American audiences as much as the previous YAT productions at Eastern of Cider With Rosie and Juno and the Paycock did in summers past.
In Mr. Yardley's words, "Mary Anne Evans, writer of this novel and a number of equally famous works including Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch and Silas Marner, wrote under the name of George Eliot to protect her identity. For, although she was born of Puritan parents, she lived unmarried in the city with George H. Lewes who encouraged her free-thinking and creative work. ADAM BEDE tells the story of a young carpenter of integrity who loves Hetty Sorrel, a pretty but self-centered dairymaid on a nearby farm. Hetty, herself dreams of Arthur Donnithorne, the young squire, a young man whose class would never allow him to marry a girl from such a lowly background. But Arthur cannot resist seducing her.
Although written for six actors to perform, Mr. Yardley working with permission of the playwright has developed the script for the cast of nearly twenty performers traveling from England to Eastern to premiere the show before returning to perform it in London. As Mr. Yardley continues, "Those who remember YAT's Juno and the Paycock will see Minnie Gale, the mother in the previous production, now playing Hetty Sorrel, the precocious but attractive maid whilst Stephen Hogben, the dissolute Joxer Daly in the Irish play, now plays the steadfast Adam Bede."
In addition to the talented British performers, a complete production and technical crew, including Lighting Designer, Simon Roose and Set Designer, Christine Osborne, will be coming from England to New England to support the production at The Harry Hope Theatre, Eastern's state-of-the-art blackbox theatre which is complete with flexible, telescope seating, air-conditioning and com-puterized lighting. The Youth Action Theatre of England troupe will be in residence at Eastern July 27th through August 9th offering workshops in British Acting techniques in addition to performances of ADAM BEDE, August 6th-8th at 8pm.
Contact: Ellen Faith Brodie