As Wood has said, and demonstrated in his wonderful adaptation of Dickens’ Yuletide novella, exposition and narration are Novocaine onstage. What, then, can a playwright make of a full three-book novel whose wry, skeptical narrative voice seems so identifiable? Wood found, to his delight, that “Austen actually has more dialogue than Dickens, that’s my impression: Whole scenes, whole chapters, are virtually all dialogue. And the plot takes place inside the dialogue, moving the action…. The language is incredible, constructed so brilliantly in one sentence. Very hard to paraphrase, and very specific to the characters, to the way a character shapes a thought.
“That makes great dialogue for the theatre,” he says. If times had been different, Austen “could easily have been a playwright.”
We were amused by this bit:
Baker considered, and rejected, two versions. One was Irish, “Jane Austen Lite, it felt like a plot outline,” says Wood. The other one was “everything I hate,” he says — shared narration, enthusiastic unison chanting, etc. “Lizzie’s getting married! Lizzie’s getting married! or “Mr. Bennet’s gone a-hunting!”
(Is anyone else having Slings & Arrows flashbacks? Imagine the theme song for that one…)
The play runs through October 12. Tickets are $35-100 and available online. As always, if you go, we’d love a report!