Paul Gordon’s Emma is back onstage – in Arizona!

Anneliese Van der Pol as Emma Woodhouse
Anneliese Van der Pol as Emma Woodhouse.

Paul Gordon’s stage version of Jane Austen’s Emma is back, continuing its 2012-2013 run at the Arizona Theatre Company through January 20. It looks like a very lavish production, starring television and Broadway actress Anneliese Van der Pol as Emma Woodhouse.

The show ran in Tucson from December 1-22, resuming this week in Phoenix. If you live in Arizona, why not ring in the new year with some Emma?

More information on Emma in Arizona:

 

Presentation copy of Jane Austen’s Emma for sale…again!

Anne Sharp's Copy of Emma
Anne Sharp’s Copy of Emma, from Sotheby’s.

I was kind of avoiding this because I thought it might’ve been a bad case of necrolink, but apparently it’s true: Anne Sharp’s presentation copy of Jane Austen’s Emma is indeed for sale…again. It last sold at auction in April, 2010 for the then pounds sterling-equivalent of $271,294.

The set of three volumes is one of twelve special first edition copies – “presentation” copies as they’re called – reserved for Austen’s family, friends, and her highest-profile fan of the period, the Prince Regent (care of his royal librarian, James Stanier Clarke). Anne Sharp is often noted as the only “friend” among the bunch of recipients. Miss Sharp had served as governess to Austen’s beloved niece, Fanny Knight, and by most accounts is the logical model for the Woodhouse girls’ dear former governess, Mrs. Weston, in Emma. Continue reading “Presentation copy of Jane Austen’s Emma for sale…again!”

Happy Hallowe’en!

NPG 6903; The Three Witches from Macbeth (Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne; Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; Anne Seymour Damer) by Daniel Gardner
The Three Witches from Macbeth (Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne; Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; Anne Seymour Damer) by Daniel Gardner

Hallowe’en season is here! To commemorate spookiness’ return, I’ve adjusted my blog theme to feature Daniel Gardner’s “Three Witches from Macbeth.” This pastel triple-portrait from 1775 features Lady Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess of Melbourne; Georgiana Spencer Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire; and Mrs. Anne Seymour Damer, the artist, portrayed as the famous witches from Shakespeare’s play.

The famous Duchess of Devonshire was about eighteen years old when she posed for this piece. It was created not long after her marriage to the Duke, at around the same time she became a rising star in Britain’s most fashionable set, the bon ton. Following in her friend Lady Melbourne’s footsteps, and owing to her marriage into a powerful family of Whig partisans, she would also become the most celebrated political hostess in England.

The three friends make awfully cute sorceresses, don’t they? For more on this piece, check out its official entry at the National Portrait Gallery.

Link: Dear Mr. Knightley…

It’s come to my attention that Mr. George Knightley of Jane Austen’s Emma fame is now authoring his own advice blog, titled Letters to Mr. Knightley! With help from colleagues and friends, he’ll be dispensing his wit and wisdom on life and love to the denizens of Highbury, the Internet, and beyond. Here’s a man I’d trust with any problem!

Fashionable Emma Woodhouse: Costuming Austen’s Emma Adapted

Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma
Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma, costumed by Academy Award nominee Ruth Myers.

Fashionable Emma Woodhouse: Costuming Austen’s Emma Adapted

Before the 2009-2010 BBC Emma miniseries came out – and before I’d even started this blog – my friends Vic and Laurel Ann of Jane Austen Today kindly asked me to do a quick piece about costuming in the three previous major adaptations of the novel: the 1971 BBC tv miniseries starring Dorin Godwin, the 1996 Miramax theatrical release starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and the 1996-1997 A&E/ITV movie starring Kate Beckinsale.

It’s based on a previous article on Emma costuming I prepared for Ellie Farrell’s excellent Celluloid Wrappers site, which is dedicated to film costume. Eventually, I’ll be adding a section on the Romola Garai Emma to that article.

 

Historic Costume: Greco-Roman Chiton and Lady Emma Hamilton’s Attitudes

Kali as Emma Hamilton
Me! In Ionic chiton, performing one of Lady Emma Hamilton’s Attitudes (I forgot to take off my glasses!). In some printings of Friedrich Rehberg’s sketches engraved, this is called “Cleopatra Seduttrice.” It is probably based on artistic rendrings of Agrippina offering libations at the tomb of Germanicus (suggested by John Wilton-Ely and confirmed by me). There is a priestess statue from the macellum (marketplace) shrine in Pompeii that strongly informs this pose and in its restored state includes a libation bowl in one hand. It is sometimes referred to as Agrippina.

Because I love Greco-Roman antiquity, I needed to make myself a chiton. Because I’ve performed Lady Emma Hamilton’s famous, classically-inspired tableaux vivants twice in the last twelve years, I needed to make myself a chiton. Because chitons are awesome and I like them, I needed a chiton.

By this point in the blog post, you might be asking yourself, “What the heck is a chiton? Who is Lady Hamilton? And those “tableaux” thingies?” I know it sounds like a strange combination of ideas, but it’s honestly not as complicated as it seems. In fact, the chiton – a very simple women’s  (and men’s!) garment originating in ancient Greece and widely used as a basic dress or underdress for women in Roman eras – is extremely easy to make and wear. But I’ll get to that in a second.

Emma, My Inspiration

Cleopatra Seduttrice
Rehberg’s drawing of Lady Emma’s “Cleopatra Seduttrice” attitude, likely influenced by both Roman and modern (as in, Renaissance onward) renderings of Agrippina (or others) offering libations to the gods.

First, the Lady Emma part of the explanation. Our English Regency society puts on various events dealing with events and culture from the late Georgian period of British history. In the course of preparations for a ball honoring the great naval hero Lord Horatio Nelson, I somehow got roped into playing a role. And not just any role; I would be recreating Lady Emma Hamilton’s famous “attitudes.” Lady Emma performed these silent tableaux from 1787 through the 1790s and into the early 19th century, sparking several high-profile imitations and influencing modern dance and other forms of performance art over a hundred years later. Now, this was 1999 and I was crazy busy trying to finish my last year of law school. The last thing I probably needed on my plate was a performance of some sort, but for Emma Hamilton I made an exception.

Priestess from Macellum in Pompeii
Restored priestess sculpture from the macellum (marketplace) shrine in Pompeii. Sometimes referred to as Agrippina, her pose is similar to Rehberg’s drawing of Emma.

Continue reading “Historic Costume: Greco-Roman Chiton and Lady Emma Hamilton’s Attitudes”

Paul Gordon Emma at San Diego Old Globe Theatre and more…

I tend to tweet most of my minor updates these days, but here’s a roundup for the sake of completeness.  🙂

 

Emma comes to the Old Globe in San Diego.
Emma comes to the Old Globe in San Diego.

Paul Gordon’s Emma – A Musical Romantic Comedy is now running at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre!  The show – which has already enjoyed successful runs in the Bay Area, Cincinnati, and St. Louis – previewed earlier this month and officially premiers this weekend.  The run will continue through February 27 (with an extension to March 6).

Emma is directed by Jeff Calhoun and stars Patti Murin as the eponymous heroine and Adam Monley as Mr. Knightley.  For more…

In other Emma adaptation news, Romola Garai’s Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television did not result in a win.  Still, it was nice to see her nominated for her starring role in the 2009-2010 BBC Emma miniseries.

In non-adaptation Emma news, Maria Edgeworth’s presentation copy of Emma was sold last month at auction.  According to Sotheby’s auction house, it fetched 79,250 pounds sterling.  Edgeworth was a bit of a novelist idol of Austen’s and an acquaintance of the James Leigh Perrots, Jane Austen’s aunt and uncle.  You can learn about Edgeworth’s opinions on Emma in this roundup of period responses to the book.

Happy new year, everyone!

Fashion Crap: And I do mean CRAP – recent costumes…

October was kind of a sewing nightmare. I really, really hate sewing. Like, I’d rather stab myself with a rake than have to deal with the cutting, the pinning, the seamripping, the rumpled fabric (right, I don’t even OWN an iron)…yeah, can’t stand it.

Well, since none of my beautiful Regency wardrobe fits (still), I had to pull together an 1814-ish evening gown out of my trusty-dusty purple silk sari (not a very period color, I know) for the Bay Area English Regency Society’s Congress of Vienna Ball. I had a role – Princess Bagration, the White Pussycat and Naked Angel – so I needed something that looked lush. At any rate, the job’s not TOO bad for a rush. I didn’t have time nor a proper pattern to make period stays, so the silhouette’s not the best. Oh well.

For Halloween, I made myself a Patrick Nagel “Rio” outfit, perfect for “dancing on the sand.” This image was apparently the alternate cover image considered for Duran Duran’s legendary sophomore album.

More images in my photo album.

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