An Amateur production by arrangement with Nick Hern Books
by Polly Teale
Directed by Simon Shorrock
at The Tobacco Factory Theatres
Dates: 28 June to 02 July 2022
This version of Jane Eyre from Polly Teale presents a Jane who is wrestling with the confinements of a Victorian society. She is strong willed girl of only 18 years of age when she leaves for Thornfield to work as a governess in the home of Rochester. Most of the play centres around the developing relationship between Jane and Rochester who is 20+ years her senior. Rochester hides his first wife Bertha in his attic and when Jane discovers of her existence she fleas from Thornfield. She ends up at the house of St John Rivers, a missionary who takes Jane in to his home with the aid of his 2 sisters. When St John decides he wants to marry Jane, Jane is uninterested in a passionless marriage as the wife of a missionary and hurries back to Thornfield to discover a dishevelled Rochester, blinded and damaged by a fire started by Bertha. She vows to marry Rochester following Bertha's death in the fire.
The play presents an interesting twist in her relationship with Bertha, Rochester's first wife, who is locked in his attic, hidden away from Jane. Right from the start Jane and Bertha are intertwined, physically at points. Bertha, despite her apparent madness, represents everything that Jane wants to be. She has a freedom of expression ill afforded to a girl of her age in Victorian England. There is a kind of yin and yang relationship between them throughout the play where we see Bertha physically responding to Jane's trials and tribulations. Bertha will be visible on stage at all times in the 'attic'. As a result of this I will be looking to hold a workshop looking at the physical characteristics of Bertha as well as auditions for some of the main roles. The script as it is call for an amount of multi-rolling and is designed for 8 actors. I will be looking for a troupe of around 12. I am looking at being age fluid (as opposed to gender fluid) by using an actor slightly older than Jane's given age but with a suitable gap between her and Rochester. Auditions will follow after Hamlet, but if you have any questions about the show, please feel free to get in touch.