Madame Bovary Readies as Mrs Rochester TransfersDate: 10 July 2003
As Shared Experience readies to transfer one production, After Mrs Rochester, to the West End (See News, 9 Jun 2003), it's also readying another for an autumn tour. Madame Bovary, the company's latest page-to-stager, is adapted by novelist Fay Weldon and directed once again by Polly Teale. It opens on 25 September 2003 at Oxford Playhouse before continuing to five further venues, culminating with a limited London season at the Lyric Hammersmith from 4 to 22 November 2003.
French novelist Gustave Flaubert's masterpiece novel was condemned as immoral when it was first published in 1857. Married to a man who dotes on her but whom she doesn't love, Emma Bovary lurches from one affair to another, leading to financial as well as emotional crisis. One morning, as she comes down to breakfast, an argument with her husband over scalded milk escalates into a shattering confession.
According to promotional material, Weldon's adaptation aims to show "how a single conversation can devastate a marriage". In addition to numerous short story collections, radio and screenplays, Weldon's own novels include Wicked Women and The Lives and Loves of a She-Devil. Following Oxford, Madame Bovary visits Bath, Guildford and Liverpool prior to London.
Shared Experience are renowned for their innovative theatre work, in particular their style of embracing new writing (often using devised scripts) and new literary adaptations then combining these with physical theatre. The collaboration between actors, directors, designers and writers has produced a variety of lauded adaptations including Jane Eyre and A Passage to India as well as The Magic Toyshop, Anna Karenina and Mill on the Floss, several of which have transferred to the West End.
After Mrs Rochester, starring Diana Quick as novelist Jean Rhys, opens at the West End's Duke of York's Theatre on 22 July 2003 (previews from 16 July). It concluded its own two-and-a-half month regional tour - including a stint at Lyric Hammersmith - in May 2003.
- by Terri Paddock