'You chip away until something beautiful comes out': Writer describes adapting Jane Austen's Mansfield Park for the stage (From Surrey Comet)
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'You chip away until something beautiful comes out': Writer describes adapting Jane Austen's Mansfield Park for the stage
The writer Tim Luscombe is in Toronto when the Surrey Comet speaks to him.
He is promoting his latest play, Pig, an examination of gay sex and civil partnerships, featuring depictions of violence, self harm and HIV eroticism.
That, one could argue, is as far away from the world of Jane Austen as you could possibly get, yet theatre goers in Kingston will get to see another side of Luscombe’s writing when his adaptation of Mansfield Park comes to the Rose later this month.
Originally performed last year at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, the show is currently on a national tour, and comes to Kingston for five nights from October 22.
It is the third time Luscombe has adapted Austen for the stage, following previous productions of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
“I adapt her because I love her, but it’s quite painful because you have to cut a lot of it out,” says Luscombe. “You start with a lump of rock, and you chip away until hopefully something beautiful is made out of it.”
In recent years, Austen’s work has been updated for modern audiences, most notable in the 1995 Alicia Silverstone comedy Clueless, a re-working of Emma.
Has Luscombe ever been tempted to bring Austen into the 21st century?
“I never really thought about doing it any other way," he says.
"I’m interested in revealing the book – the manners, the time, the way people to speak to each other is so of its period.
“One of the great things about her is, although her books are set very much in the time when she wrote them, they’re very much about things we are still interested in.
“I know they’re the old girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy back, but her wit is extraordinary.
“I think that’s what’s most attractive. I can’t take any credit for it. It’s all her work.”
Mansfield Park, Rose Theatre, High Street, Kingston
Tuesday October 22 to Saturday, October 26
Tickets £8 - £25
What's on this week?
This week's entertainment highlights in Kingston
Tuesday October 1 (Today)
The Jonty Fisher Trio play a free lunchtime set of jazz standards plus a few original compositions at the Rose Theatre’s Culture Cafe.
Wednesday October 2 The Stanley Picker Gallery launches its new multi-sensory exhibition Sound Matters: Exploring Sound Through Forms, running until November 23.
Thursday October 3
Pop-infused shoegazers Yuck return to Kingston with a new album and a new line-up, for a headline slot at New Slang.
Friday October 4
Garage rock band The Fallen Leaves play The Fighting Cocks, with support from Morgellons and the Superminx 70.
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