Theatre production: 'You on the Moors Now'
You on the Moors Now is a period drama inspired by characters from classic feminist novels, (Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre), drawing the female protagonists into a fascinating and telling conversation of romance and equality in their separate tales. Director Eleni Papaleonardos, visiting assistant professor, was drawn to this play because of her previous connections with her “favorite” literary novels, coupled with the play’s relevance to today.
“It’s an exploration of saying ‘no’ to a path we might see ourselves going down. An exploration of gender expectation both in the time of these novels and now,” she said.
Contextualizing the original material in this play is a necessary aspect of the production. Caro Elliott ‘23, a theatre and environmental studies major, is playing the roles of Caroline Bennet and Amy March, as well as working as the dramaturg, a role designed to help research and contextualize the play. For You on the Moors Now, this required examining the modern perceptions of the four novels represented, as well as understanding the messages and themes represented in these stories and the lives of the authors.
“The world we live in is much different than the world the authors lived in, but that doesn’t mean we don’t face many of the same issues,” Elliott said. “I think the playwright, Jaclyn Backhaus, does an incredible job drawing attention to these issues while giving the stories room to grow. Change occurs in a series of small steps, and this play builds on the work of people who came before us.”
You on the Moors Now is also taught by Papaleonardos in her class curriculum. Papaleonardos explained that the goal of teaching this play includes building a character, blocking and choreography, and understanding flow of practices and rehearsals.
The learning opportunities are more than organizational as well. Elliott argues that the subject matter has allowed the actors to examine their own relationships with femininity and feminine strength.
“I’ve struggled to feel both strong and feminine at the same time because those things are seen as opposites when they really aren’t. Amy March has a strong voice and Caroline Bingley challenges her own perception of other women in this play,” she said.
“Playing both women has helped me understand multiple ways of feeling strong and feminine.”
Papaleonardos also accredited this, saying, “We’ve had such wonderful conversations about gender, identity, and expectation and how these characters and authors were seen in their time and today…I’ve loved walking into the rehearsal room each night with actors and design team as we all explore together. Making theatre is an intensive process and it takes time and devotion, I’m utterly grateful to share this space and time as a team.”
You on the Moors Now will be showing November 4, 5, 11, and 12 at 8pm and on November 6 and 13 at 2pm.