03 March 2014

Back stage with Miss Bronte

Miss Bronte is well underway with great reviews and audience feedback. Every night after the show there are groups of audience members congregating to discuss the play over a glass of wine. People are flicking through their memories to remember sections of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Villette which are referenced in the play. Many people are murmuring that it is time they re-read the novels. We are so excited to be inciting the kind of vigorous conversation that we regularly had in the rehearsal room.

We now have all of our pre-show rituals well under control. The wonderful stage manager/technician/Jill-of-all-trades Deb McGuire spends hours carefully placing each page of paper on the set and double checking all of the lighting states. Then she has the arduous task of dressing Mel. Victorian women had so many layers of garments! We have to put on the boots, bloomers, corset, crinoline, petticoats and then the dress itself. 

That done, she begins Mel's hair. We have researched hairstyles of the day and had many options, but needed to settle on only one. It is important that the character looks the same every night. That is 'her' hair. 

Because the clothing is so restrictive, Mel is very limited in what she can do once in costume. We joke in the dressing room that this is exactly as it would have been for Charlotte Bronte with her loyal servant Tabby dressing all three sisters every morning. Charlotte had a lovely relationship with Tabby. She had lived with the family most of Charlotte's life. In her old age, Tabby used to miss parts of the potato skin when she was peeling the potatoes. Instead of chastising Tabby, Charlotte would secretly peel the rest of the potatoes herself, so as not to upset Tabby.

Miss Bronte runs until March 15. To book, visit: www.circa.co.nz.

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