Persuasion at Genesian Theatre Company
Persuasion is a story of a love diverted. Anne Elliott and Frederick Wentworth fall deeply in love, and yet their happiness is thwarted when Anne is persuaded by another to decline his offer of marriage. An entire war and 8 years of time separate them, when once again they are reintroduced... This production of Persuasion will be a traditional text transported to an ethereal set that allows the story to move through different locations and time.
Rosie spoke to Director Trudy Ritchie about this adaptation and how the show will speak to women in 2019. Read the full interview below:
What about Jane Austen’s classic novel drew you to this production?
What I love about this particular story is that it highlights how timing and circumstance can interfere with true love. Two people fall in love and yet they are divided – I suppose a lot of people like the idea that Persuasion puts forward – the possibility of time & circumstances changing to allow a second chance at a past love.
I honestly believe timing/circumstance is a huge part of what makes someone lucky or unlucky in love.
The Genesian Theatre Company has largely built its niche based on adaptations and reimaginings of classic British literature. Does this period of literature have any particular significance to you?
I have always had a certain fascination with the era. Like a lot of people I have probably romanticised it quite a bit - the gorgeous gowns and polite society and dapper gentlemen and courting before the horror of online dating! But of course in Jane Austen's text she is also showing us how restrictive that society was, in particular how a women's economic security could only be gained through marriage.
Austen’s final novel left a unique legacy as the only entry that focuses on a woman who (at the time) was considered past her prime. How do you feel about the themes of female social and relationship expectations? How do you think these themes will resonate with the audience?
Unfortunately we live in such an ageist society for women. At the time Persuasion was written, a woman aged 29 was definitely considered past it so I'm sure there will be a lot of laughs from the audience at that. I think Jane Austen at the time thought it was ridiculous. I think she was trying to show that going into a relationship a little older is actually a much more sensible thing to do! Hopefully the audience/society will see the value in a woman of any age – it's more about what kind of person they are than any number!
The production is described as a traditional text on an ethereal set, that moves the story throughout different locations and times. Do you find certain elements and themes of the play to be timeless?
For me Persuasion really is a testament to timeless love. Love transcends time, it will always be relevant to people (at least I hope it will)!
What do you hope Sydney audiences will take away from this production?
I hope it inspires some people to reach out to the one that got away and maybe get their second chance at love (if they aren't one of the lucky ones already)!! I also hope anyone out there who has pigeon holed Jane Austen into the 'boys and bonnets only' section will realise she was actually an incredibly witty and stoic woman who was actually poking fun at society and daring to call out its contradictions.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
Favourite production you have ever seen?
Billy Elliot The Musical – amazing set/scene transitions and visually stunning!
You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?
The Greek Islands – or Prague!
Dream show to direct?
The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh
Plays or musicals?
I adore musicals & would love to make that a future project!
A hobby you have beyond the theatre?
Writing, reading, baking
What’s next for you after this show?
Picking up where I left off with writing my first children's book – AND thinking about producing my own project next year hopefully.
Persuasion opens at the Genesian Theatre on June 29, 2019. You can get your tickets here.