Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Drove those other childs wild

  • You'll already have seen this if you keep track of the tagboard, but the photo of the two J. Ehles over there was sent by a tipster (gracias). Apparently it's from a book cover. Too cute, innit? The same person also brought our attention to an article about Natalie Herzen in the Russian Review, which you can read if you've got access to academic journal databases.
  • Thanks to Ann for sending scans from American Vogue, one about how Jennifer Ehle proves God's existence, the other about Coast of Utopia's "crass commercialism" (not). She found a photo of Ms Ehle at the Romeo and Juliet gala from Broadway.com as well (yep, a little behind here).
  • Listen to three gorgeous tracks from Before the Rains' score at the website of composer Mark Kilian.
  • An interview with Santosh Sivan in the Times of India - hopefully not a double post:
    [...] “I’m looking forward to Toronto where the film will be premiered and where our film is positioned with other interesting films,” says Santosh.

    The Rains is set in Kerala during the British times. “Our protagonist is a British planter who shares a bond with Rahul Bose who works for him. The film’s essentially a human drama and about individual choices,” he says.

    Why Kerala? He says, “We adapted the script to Kerala, since it also dealt with the times of colonisation. It has always fascinated me to see these winding roads leading through forests into spice hills and the stories of how the British had constructed those roads with the help of the locals long time back.”

    Says Santosh, “We shot the film in Munnar with a mixed cast and crew from London and the US. It was quite interesting to see the chemistry between people from different countries.” Commenting on the film’s cast, he says, “I’ve known Rahul Bose for a long time and I was interested in seeing him in a different role. And Nandita Das is someone who can effortlessly handle the extremes of emoting any role. And we had Linus Roache who is quite a perfectionist.” [...]
  • And another. See through a cinematographer's eyes in this two part interview about Mr Sivan's lush visual world at TIFF's South Facing blog. A poet of both light and words! Keep an eye out for the photo of Rahul Bose and Linus Roache in Before the Rains. On his home state, the setting for the film, he says:
    [...] My attempts to capture light are based on my experiences with weather the rain, sun, snow and clouds. In Kerala where I grew up monsoons made heavy rains a part of our life. Besides, there was always a presence of water -- Rain, ponds, sea water or the backwaters. My fascination for water in a very indirect way helped me hone my eye for colour and light in visuals and cinematography. [...] I am lucky to be born and brought up in Kerala. In the predominance of water, there are states like Bengal which are similar but Kerala is a state of visual language. Kerala has lyrics and metaphors and its arts forms. [...]
  • Here are the results of our previous poll on readers' opinions of Coast of Utopia. Due to my l33t skillz, "0 stars" and "haven't seen it" were accidently coded as 1 star. Oops.
  • If you look up at the right hand bar, you'll see we've got a fundraising project for Broadway Cares. Initially I only intended to donate advertising proceeds from the blog, but since BC/EFA had a new option for group fundraising, thought to draw on the power and the pockets of Ehle fans as a whole. A $1 500 target has been set for the end of the year. Don't let those Colin Firth fans show us up - Colin Firth 24/7 managed $10 000 last year! Skip a coffee or two and donate $10 to help fight AIDS (and maintain Jennite Pride, yo).
That's it, the last of umpteen linky lists. I've been meaning to tie up loose ends and sign off properly for months now but by some superhuman feat of procrastination have avoided it, leaving Kate and Abi rather in the lurch. Though they have effectively been holding the reins from before the Tonys, and managed superbly, I feel the need to officially pass on executive powers with a bit of ceremony both for their sake and my own. First there are the practical matters - any news and questions you have can be sent to the team at ehleblog@gmail.com. jenniferehle@gmail.com is being retired although mail to that address will be forwarded to my civilian inbox. The DVD library is still running and accepting new borrowers.

To the sentimental stuff. Over two years, with many people's help and almost daily prodding, I've seen the blog grow from a tentative experiment born on a whim to the hub it is today, thriving without my efforts. I've grown up alongside it and learned so much - sometimes the hard way! It has exposed me to the alien and rich world of theatre, and through it I have gained warm friendships that have far surpassed the bounds of co-fandom. It is a joy to be able to pass guardianship of the blog on to a couple of these friends. I can scarcely believe my luck in finding two people with the dedication (coughinsanity) to take on this job, in whose initiative, judgment and discretion I have absolute faith. Kate and Abi, thank you for the hard work you've already put in. Thank you for being willing to adopt my baby.

In the course of this project, I have been moved by great and small acts of generosity. Now's the last time I can name names, so forgive me for rattling on a bit. To Chelsea, original partner in crime and better half, thank you for the crazy fun and yakka and listening and planning and and and. Agent E, thanks for those priceless DVDs and treasure chest, for all the tips and support. Kez, for the creation and liberation of Terry and for one of the most memorable phone convos evar. Sands, for being a friend in those early wobbly days. Mary, for the graphics and for the forum company. To the Jerryboreers, for those three crazy/amazing days of communal excitement. Thanks to the folks from other fandoms who have helped us out. Most notable are the girls at Colin Firth 24/7 and Josie. Also, thanks to AustenBlog and Pemberleans for tolerating ever so much potbanging, and to various cooperative Officials of the Public and Lincoln Centre Theatres. To the ever-vigilant tipsters and contributors, thanks for making the job that much easier. And thanks to everyone who has kept up with this thing, and spoken from the void. Finally- she who is made of awesome, who inspired the whole mad adventure. Who has put up with so much and given so incredibly, impossibly generously - nope, not over it yet. Whose work still elicits awe and LMAOs and excessive blinking, who still intrigues, electrifies and astonishes even when you think you've seen it all. Thanks for everything. It has been a pleasure and an honour, and I can't wait to see whatever comes next.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pixie-like Plimpton and pals in the Park

  • It's party time! Last Thursday was the opening night of the Delacorte's A Midsummer Night's Dream, starring ex-Utopian Martha Plimpton as Helena. Jennifer Ehle went along, and BroadwayWorld has some gorgeous photos of Ms Ehle, Ms Plimpton and an almost unrecognisably clean-shaven - and dashing, if I may say so - Jason Butler Harner! Scroll down the page and the pics are the 7th-13th ones in the list. (Thanks to the anonymous reader for the link).

Regarding the performance itself, Philly.com describes Ms Plimpton as 'superb', while the New York Magazine has a lovely photo of Ms Plimpton at the curtain call, plus some brief quotage relating to the apt Belvedere Castle setting:

"It's beautiful the way they've lit it up like this," Plimpton gushed, all pixielike. "It's a magical fairyland."

Journalist Justin Ravitz adds that "the misty, late-summer fête was the perfect setting to drunkenly talk about fairies, Central Park memories, romantic obsessions, performing en plein air, and iambic pentameter."

Jeremy McCarter of the same publication meanwhile argues that Helena is a part Plimpton has "long been fated to play":

[...] Plimpton gets Helena’s desperation as she chases after her beloved Demetrius, who goes to the woods seeking only Hermia. “Use me but as your spaniel,” she pleads, lovesick and funny. She also has a nice way with Helena’s speeches—the soliloquies which prove her to be more observant, more articulate, and just plain more interesting than the other lovers. [...]

Ben Brantley's opening night thoughts for the New York Times meanwhile can be found here.

  • The other ex-Utopian in the news this week is the fantastic Billy Crudup, who - as Playbill announces - will be starring in the forthcoming film, Dedication:
Crudup — Tony winner of The Coast of Utopia — stars as Henry Roth, a New York children's book author who tells kids that Santa doesn't exist, and hates sleeping with anyone, including his girlfriend. He must lay on the floor, usually with heavy objects on top of him just to feel safe. His motto is, "Life is nothing but the occasional burst of laughter rising above the interminable wail of grief," according to a synopsis.

I don't know about you, but Shakespeare in Love's 'the natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster' came to my mind when I read that!

  • Aside from the previously discussed relevance of the Toronto International Film Festival, The Envelope briefly discusses another Austen film that is among the TIFF's selection - The Jane Austen Book Club - starring Marc Blucas and Emily Blunt. Before you get too excited by the title however, this piece of cinema seems, according to its synopsis, much less Austen-related than the recent Becoming Jane:
Six Californians start a club to discuss the works of Jane Austen, only to find their relationships -- both old and new -- begin to resemble 21st century versions of her novels.

Time will tell. In the meantime, release dates can be found here.

  • For our Stoppard fans and followers, here is a little discussion of the forthcoming Broadway production of Rock 'n' Roll in Newsweek:
No contemporary playwright riffs on history like Tom Stoppard—and the journey from the 19th-century Russian revolutionaries of "The Coast of Utopia" to "Rock 'n' Roll" has a certain logic. Set in Prague and Cambridge University, from 1968 to the Velvet Revolution 30 years later, the "Rock" characters—dissidents, protesters and professors—debate communism and the transformative power of music. Rufus Sewell, Sinead Cusack and Brian Cox from the original London cast will star in the Broadway premiere.

Just to reiterate, previews begin on October 19 at the Bernard B Jacobs Theater and the official website can be found here. Cymbeline meanwhile, starring Martha Plimpton as Imogen, starts November 1st at the Vivian Beaumont, Lincoln Center. A piece relating to the aforementioned Stoppard Goes Electric can be found here. The piece is being shown Off-Off Broadway this September, and the article includes some quotage from Sir Tom.

  • The Guardian meanwhile has a loosely-related piece on the storming of a theatre in Belarus last week, in which police arrested fifty people. Tom Stoppard is mentioned due to his links with the theatre and - as CBC.ca Arts report - the fact that he was due to attend that night.
The British playwright Tom Stoppard, who has supported the Free Theatre for several years, told the Guardian he learned of the raid through a text message sent by one of the theatre's directors, who was detained in the Belarussian capital, Minsk. Stoppard accused the authorities of a "grotesque" attack on civil rights.

"One had hoped that the days when artists were arrested for free expression were buried with totalitarian states, but Belarus is as close to a totalitarian state as you can get in Europe," he said.

Stoppard said the performers were "unaggressive young people who just feel that the official art available to them [in Belarus] is very limited".
  • Last but not least, and on a lighter note, a scandalous comment to the New York Magazine by the phenomenal Trevor Nunn, who directed the London Coast of Utopia and is also Rock 'n' Roll-ing with Sir Tom this Fall:
On not catching The Coast of Utopia here after having directed it in England:

Having seen the play about 25 times in London, I didn’t feel that I was missing out on anything—especially since Tom told me he cut it quite a bit.

One begs to differ! Although I think Sir Trevor is so utterly brilliant that we may forgive him! Just!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jennifer Ehle to attend TIFF

News! Jennifer Ehle is expected to be among the 500+ guests attending the Toronto International Film Festival, which will begin on September 6th:
The 32nd Toronto International Film Festival welcomes over 500 international stars and special guests. These filmmakers, actors, and industry insiders, connected to Festival films and other Festival programming, represent the finest in film talent from around the world. [...]
Continue reading to see the full (star-studded!) roster.
(And many thanks to our anonymous helpster for the tip.)

Variety informs us that TIFF has announced the Festival's complete lineup, which includes 349 films from 55 different countries. (According to Variety's blog, that is over 600 hours of film!) The complete list can be viewed at the TIFF site. Note that Before the Rains is included in the Special Presentations category, as is Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, starring a certain Rosemary Harris. The complete film schedule will become available online on August 28th.

In other Festival news, PlayBack tells us that Before the Rains director Santosh Sivan will be a participant in TIFF's Talent Lab:

What do you get when you cross 22 emerging Canadian filmmakers with directors John Sayles and Don McKellar and select TIFF guests for four days?

"Unparalleled artistic development opportunities and an introduction to the global filmmaking community," says Kelley Alexander, TIFF director of industry initiatives.

Participants are in for a treat as this year's high-profile Talent Lab mentors will be joined by music icon and filmmaker Daniel Lanois (Here Is What Is), director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club), filmmaker Santosh Sivan (Before the Rains) and director Jason Reitman (Thank You for Smoking), as well as emerging U.K. filmmakers David Alexander and Osbert Parker, and Ishaku Gumut from Nigeria. [...]

Talent Lab, according to the TIFF site, "offers artistic development opportunities to emerging Canadian filmmakers in a four-day intensive programme that gives them the opportunity to build their networks in a creative environment, and learn from some of the most esteemed filmmakers and artists in the world."

The socially conscious Sivan will also be taking part in one of four Mavericks presentations at the Festival:
Mira Nair Presents Four Views on AIDS in India brings together Mira Nair (THE NAMESAKE), Santosh Sivan (BEFORE THE RAINS), Vishal Bhardwaj (OMKARA) and Farhan Akhtar (DON) - four of India's most innovative and celebrated directors - for a discussion of the AIDS JAAGO Project, as well as the issue of HIV/AIDS in India and the world at large. A development of Nairs own Mirabai Films and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the project explores different aspects of HIV/AIDS in India, using some of Indian cinemas most celebrated actors to help maximize the exposure of the films to audiences throughout the country. The four short films - featuring performances by Prabhu Deva, Irrfan Khan, Shabana, Azmi, Shiney Ahuja, Ayesha Takia, Boman Irani, Raima Sen, Siddharth, and Sameera Reddy - will screen as part of this insightful Mavericks presentation, also featuring a discussion between the four directors working to dismantle the myths and misconceptions associated with HIV/AIDS.
The Festival is less than two weeks away! If any of you, dear readers, are able to attend and have the pleasure of seeing Before the Rains, please consider sharing your opinions with us poor souls at the blog.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hawke in the heat, Helena in the hail

Just a few little tidbits relating to ex-Utopians today:

  • Ethan Hawke talks to the NY Daily News about the movie version of his book The Hottest State, the changing face of NYC and life in general.

A little extract:

Always passionate and opinionated, Hawke is definitely less fiery and pointed than he was as a younger man, as he himself would be the first to say. So, when adapting a book he wrote more than a decade ago, Hawke found himself identifying less with William, the besotted young hero, and more with the father whom William struggles to confront and connect with."I was so idealistic about love and art and politics," says Hawke. "I was so idealistic. I still am, but the world is much grayer than I thought it was. It's harder to make your way than I thought.

MoviesOnline also has a great interview with him, including a long Q&A section about his work. A small snippet:

Can you talk a little bit about how you draw on your own life experiences for this film?

When I was younger, when I first wrote the book, I was really just running with that 'write what you know' thing they tell you in writing class. I was using the details of my real life to create authenticity for an emotional subject matter that I wanted to write about. I wanted to write about how much we take, how much our parents give us the vocabulary for love and how much we're guided by that and how much that comes out in our romantic relationships. I kind of wanted to find that intersection, you know the hottest state, an elevated level of passion, and where the protagonist comes from.

  • Martha Plimpton meanwhile - described by Ben Brantley of the New York Times as one of 'a promising assortment of young veterans' - is still delighting audiences despite Central Park having its fair share of the wet stuff in recent days. One Delacorte-goer wasn't keen to give a thumbs up overall, but considered Ms Plimpton's performance 'one of the best things about the show', while another not only turned up in the rain, but waited for a late start, experienced an early finish and still said she would have stayed until midnight had she been allowed. Yet another Dreamer was equally complimentary and also elaborated:
Martha Plimpton was great as Helena, although it took me a while to get used to her playing such a different role for her. I'm so used to her being the "strong" woman, that seeing her grovel on the floor hanging on to Demetrius' leg took a some getting used to. However, as my friend pointed out, she was the only one of the four lovers who was truly speaking the verse, and that made a huge difference.
  • In other news, Broadwayworld reports that the LCT will be a co-producer of Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘N’ Roll which begins previews on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on October 19, while Utopian choreographer Michele Lynch will be lending her talents to Happy Days: The New Musical which will run at the Millburn Theater from September 26.
  • Lastly, if you are Utopiastalgic or have a bare wall that needs a bit of interest, Ebay still has some unsigned Coast of Utopia window cards for under $20. There are a few pretty Sunshine ones available too.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A little something for everyone

Just to let everyone know, Blogger seems to be having a bit of trouble with polls right now, so if you are unable to submit your vote in our poll (on the right sidebar), please use the Chatter box to give us your opinion.

Well, there is nothing news-worthy to speak of, but here are a couple of tidbits:
  • In his "Memo to Colin Farrell," Richard Horgan is optimistic about the upcoming film, Pride and Glory. Here is the relevant bit:
    [...] Your New Line crime drama Pride and Glory is technically a studio film, but it’s written and directed by an American director with the same name as Irish actor Gavin O’Connor (can’t hurt), and would appear to return said filmmaker to his pre-Miracle, Sundance Film Festival Filmmaker Trophy days. It’s also the first time you’ve been paired with Ed Norton, a combo that somehow feels to me like it can only be dynamite. [...]
    There hasn't been a lot of buzz about Pride and Glory thus far, but the folks at the IMDB message board are speculating that a trailer for the movie will make an appearance in January '08.
  • Most of Jennifer Ehle's films seem to be available for reduced prices at amazon.co.uk right now, including Alpha Male, Backbeat, Melissa, Possession, Pride and Prejudice, Sunshine, and The River King. There are some great bargains so now might be the time to beef up your collection.

For today's Jane Austen fix:

  • In addition to offering some words of praise for the BBC Pride and Prejudice, Shuttsie recommends a literary quiz-book called "So You Think You Know Jane Austen?" Here is how it is described at amazon.com:
    [...] Designed to amuse and divert, the questions and answers take the reader on an imaginative journey into the world of Jane Austen, where hypothesis and speculation produce fascinating and unexpected insights. Whether you are an expert or enthusiast, So You Think You Know Jane Austen? guarantees you will know her much better after reading it.
  • And, Carole Goldberg of the Hartford Courant provides a list of movies, websites, and books, all relating to our dear Miss Austen.

Our Coast of Utopia devotees might be interested to know that Martha Plimpton was recently interviewed by Leonard Lopate about her role in A Midsummer Night's Dream at Shakespeare in the Park. Visit WNYC.org to listen to the interview. Very good stuff! (Note that you can also see a picture at WNYC's photo page.)

Lastly, you might find ShrineMathGuys's latest blog entry excessively diverting! (Of course this is not the Jennifer Ehle, but wouldn't it be hilarious if she taught a class on blogging?)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Austen? No thankyou!" says modern man

Officially zilch on the news front, so here are some little bits that are either fun, loosely-related or inconsequential:

  • As reported by the Telegraph, a UKTV poll has revealed that 37% of women would rather date a 'Darcy-like figure' than a modern man. The poll also found that the majority of modern men were unlikely to even know who this 'Darcy' person is - two-thirds of male respondents had never read a romantic novel in their lives. Unhappy thought indeed!

  • Just when we thought Martha Plimpton had planned a rest - even if she had yet to take it - it has been announced that she will join the cast of Cymbeline this fall. This, however, is not any production of Cymbeline - it is Lincoln Center's, meaning Ms Plimpton will be back at the Vivian Beaumont, on a stage we're assuming she knows quite well after seven months of The Coast of Utopia. Ms Plimpton will be playing Imogen, and previews will begin November 1. She is also joined in the project by Crew-topian lighting extraordinaire Brian MacDevitt. Exciting stuff. Meanwhile Beyond the Green Door was, for the first time ever, 'left doubled over in laughter' after seeing Ms Plimpton's current project, A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Delacorte. Similarly, Danny Miller was left asking 'What can't this woman do?' Well, quite.

  • California's The Envelope meanwhile are already using the words 'Rock 'n' Roll' and 'Tonys 2008' in the same sentence. They also are drawing our attention to the new Tony Nominating Committee who will be deciding the 2008 nominees. If you thought all this was a little premature, even the official Tony website are telling us "It's not too early to sign up to get news about the 2008 Tony Awards!" Incidentally, they also appear to have taken Ms Plimpton's lead in setting up a MySpace page. Lastly, if you want to read the articles the stars were reading on June 10 in between applause, chit-chat, and more applause, see the American Theatre Wing's written excerpts of the official Tony Playbill for 2007.

  • Lastly, should you have some superfluous roubles knocking around, eBay has a pretty red leather-bound copy of Possession, signed by AS Byatt, for $180. Happy reading!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Vote in our new poll!

Since we haven't heard of any new projects in the works for Jennifer Ehle, we've added a new poll to the blog to find out what the fans are hoping she will do next. To place your vote, simply scroll down until you see the poll on the right sidebar. (Note: It is directly above the Chatter box.) Voting will take place until September 1st. Feel free to discuss the matter on the Chatter box as well, or, better yet, tell us your thoughts at the Forum. Newbies and lurkers are always welcome.

Because Ms Ehle's Best Featured Actress Tony is two months old today, here's a little bit of Utopian nostalgia:

First, opening night playbills from Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage are available at Ebay.

Shortly after the winning a Tony Award for The Coast of Utopia, Jack O'Brien was interviewed by one of his former fraternity brothers, John Emmerling, who has kindly posted the interview on his blog. In it, Mr. O'Brien talks about collaborating with Tom Stoppard and discusses his 'processes' for visualizing and directing Utopia. Here are a few of the Q&As:
It strikes me that directing a big, wide-spectrum play must be a little like herding cats?

The whole idea of directing a play or an opera or a musical is to try to get everyone there, independently, to tell the same story in exactly the way you would have told it yourself. And you can’t do that except by convincing the actors that what they’re doing is their own idea. Theater is for all intents and purposes an act of faith—the actors must actually believe in the moment and then, by their conviction, they make the audience believe it too.
What is your creative relationship with Tom? As you discuss things, does he take creative input from you?

(LAUGHING) To begin with, I’m a University of Michigan graduate—and he’s Tom Stoppard. But mostly I’m with him as a student and I need to know more. And so I’m questioning: “I don’t understand this? Why is this in here?” And he tells me. Little by little, we talk more about what it should be and how he wants to make it clearer. Eventually we’re coming together. He might say: “I need to do more work on this.” “I think I did this better once.” “I think I can make this clearer.” But through all these conversations, I still didn’t know how to do it.
Let’s get back to your amused collaborators who insisted that you turn them on. Were you able to come up with something?

This is what I said to them at those first meetings: “Okay here it is. There are three plays. The first one takes place on a dome that is in fact a field of blue flowers. And only at the end of first act do you understand that you’re not looking at a dome with blue flowers on it but you’re looking at a painted Russian Easter egg. Number two. The second play takes place in black and upstage you see a giant Fabrege egg. And slowly that egg comes downstage until it’s in front of the audience and then it splits and is in fact the apartment that is being rented in Paris. All of this is suspended about 8 to 10 feet in the air. And when the revolution happens the egg cracks in two and the rest of the scenery is red or bathed in red light and the characters don’t notice it. They look across—and act across—the void but they don’t notice that it’s broken. And the third play? It takes place entirely in—and of—eggshells.”

Those are stunning pictures. How did they react?

They were gobsmacked. They loved it! They roared, they laughed, and John… (PAUSE FOR EFFECT) …we didn’t use any of those ideas. [More]

While we're on the subject, a new website has just been launched for Sir Tom's latest play, Rock 'N' Roll. Go check it out.

Also on the "marginally related to this blog" front, there is some discussion of the first few previews of A Midsummer Night's Dream at All That Chat. Once again, Martha Plimpton seems to be winning the hearts of the audience.

For the Janeites out there:

  • Livejournaler MacaroniProtest has posted an interesting discussion of the many movie adaptations of Jane Austen's works, including, of course, Pride and Prejudice.
  • Grace Magazine offers some advice for relieving stress. They suggest, "a perfect way to relax is to put on Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle and crochet." Sounds good to me (though perhaps the crocheting part is superfluous).
  • Finally, in honor of Colin Firth's upcoming birthday, Colin Firth 24/7 has arranged to have a donation sent to Oxfam America in Mr. Firth's name. Go to Colin Firth 24/7 to find out how to contribute to his birthday gift.

[Edit: It has just come to my attention that I have incorrectly credited Colin Firth 24/7 with arranging the Oxfam birthday project. My deepest apologies to the Firth Sisters who originated this projet and have organized it for three years running. Thank you ladies for all of your hard work!! I'd also like to point out that by visiting Firth Sisters, you can see a tally of how much money has been donated thus far. As of August 10th, the total is $2,410!]

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Davies: Mr Darcy was nearly 'au naturel'

  • Pride and Prejudice screenwriter extraordinaire Andrew Davies took part in this week's BBC Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs, as reported by icWales. Mr Davies admits that Mr Darcy's famous 'lake' scene was intended to be even more eye-catching than it turned out to be:

I wanted him to dive in with nothing on at all. But for some reason, I don’t know what it was, it was decided – or he decided – that he was going to dive in with his shirt and breeches on and that gave us that scene.

Davies has described the episode as “rather amusing and embarrassing”. He said, “There is Darcy in a state that he would not normally want to be seen in, trying to be pleasant and polite to Elizabeth. But in fact half of England’s womanhood was going crazy about his wet shirt."

Mr Davies' music choices can be found here. The programme will be repeated on August 10 at 9am GMT.

  • Time Out interviews the lovely Martha Plimpton and looks back on her career as she starts in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park:

Considering that Plimpton just ended a nine-month commitment in Lincoln Center Theater’s The Coast of Utopia, she now officially owns the title of hardest-working woman in New York theater. She took the new job a mere six weeks after Utopia’s closing-night party which, according to rumors, was as epic as the trilogy itself. “I’m not at liberty to talk about it,” Plimpton demurs teasingly during a rehearsal break.

The actor actually joined Midsummer, directed by Daniel Sullivan, a week into rehearsals after Missi Pyle dropped out. Despite having just finished a monumental, once-in-a-career project, Plimpton accepted quickly. “I was about to go to Los Angeles for the summer to scrounge up some television or film, and then I got this call from Dan,” she says. “I decided I’d much rather stay home. This is way more fun than pounding the pavement in L.A.”

It appears we weren't the only ones pleasantly surprised by such a quick transition - so was her director Daniel Sullivan (who himself has had a tough week falling through trap doors):

After coming out of Lincoln Center, she got her energies back and was ready to go. I was a little surprised—and delighted—that she immediately wanted to get on board.

Martha's move has clearly involved mental and linguistic transitions, even if she still gets to wear pretty dresses:

Since Utopia spanned 1833 to 1866, Plimpton’s new costuming won’t be radically different from that of her last gig, but the language will. And she has only one other Shakespeare on her résumé, a 1991 Pericles—at the Public, naturally. Has immersion in Stoppard’s rhetorical cascades made it easier to mouth the Bard? “It’s hard to say, ‘Well, of course it feels perfectly natural to go from Stoppard to Shakespeare,’ ” Plimpton muses. “That would be asinine. It’s all difficult, and you just sort of go at it bit by bit, hoping you tell the story clearly."

And lastly, proof that blogging can be worthwhile, (well, if your name is Martha)...

On Plimpton’s charming MySpace page (a rare and candid undertaking for a celebrity), she posted a marked-up First Folio page from Midsummer. But when the website is mentioned, she practically blushes over the phone. “It’s just a MySpace page, for God’s sake,” the actor says. “It’s something I do to have a good time and communicate with friends and colleagues and be silly.” Still, the page—which features photos of role models such as Gena Rowlands, Anna Magnani and Gilda Radner—has a practical use: Plimpton’s writing about her favorite bands got her work reviewing music on MTV’s website.

Time Out then report that Ms Plimpton then plans to spend some more than well-deserved feet-up time in Puerto Rico. Who can blame her.

  • It is not only Utopia's actors that are getting stuck into new projects. Playbill report that scenic designer Scott Pask has joined the creative team of musical Saved. Broadway World have the same story. Meanwhile, lighting designer Brian MacDevitt will join the team of A Catered Affair. Also in New York this fall, the Boomerang Theatre Company are performing a piece called Stoppard Goes Electric, which includes three plays, originally written for the BBC in the 1960s: A Separate Peace, Teeth, and Another Moon Called Earth.
  • Ebay has an autographed Utopia poster available, signed by 36 cast members. Current bid is $48 (although the reserve is higher) and all proceeds go to charity. Auction ends August 10th.
  • Lastly, unless I have been asleep, the BBC seem to have revamped their Pride and Prejudice info. The result is a nice little page including a 'Behind the Scenes' section, crew audio clips and episode clips. It seems to contain similar info to the 'Making of' book and programmes, but worthy of a peek on a rainy day.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Scraping the bottom of the barrel

When in doubt, P&P...
  • Calling all P&P loving Californians: Today, August 4th, there will be a Pride and Prejudice picnic and dance at Lincoln Park in Alameda, CA. Besides a "full afternoon of 18th and early 19th century English country dances and waltzes," the event will feature "cards (both Whist and Speculation), singing (including a period round and catch sing-a-long), witty conversation, and elegant flirtation." Sounds like a hoot. Go to Lady Jane's post for more information.
  • At Voyages of a Steampunk Physician's blog, you can vote for your favorite film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (ahem, the '95 BBC miniseries).
  • In keeping with this theme, Eat Your Broccoli reviews and compares the '95 miniseries and the '05 feature film (even if "comparisons are odious").
  • Green-Eyed Mystic has some Jennifer Ehle love and also mentions our very own Fan Interview and blog.
  • There are lots of Rosemary Harris goodies at Ebay, including several signed photos and a few press photo transparencies.

This might possibly have been the shortest post ever...I hope the zinnias are coming along nicely.