By Justin Flynn
Local director Emma Watson has poured every bit of energy into her upcoming adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel A Room With a View.
Watson has not only written the play, she has made the costumes, hats and even upholstered the furniture to depict the 1908 setting.
“She just lives and breathes it,” said Christine Davey, artistic director of independent Geelong theatre company Skin of Our Teeth Productions.
“Emma approached me with this idea and she’s just really nailed it.”
This bold and sumptuous new adaptation of A Room With a View will premier in Geelong next month.
Watson’s adaptation bolsters E.M. Forster’s career defining literary ideas of feminism, the belief in freedom and truth, while adding grace and a gentle learnedness.
It follows the story of English rose Lucy Honeychurch touring Italy with her prim spinster cousin Charlotte Bartlett as chaperone.
It’s a play about change and loss, about pretension and honesty, about expectation and entitlement and ultimately about how spontaneous actions in a rigid world of set social codes can shatter and explode into life changing potential.
“It’s really just a lovely story,” Davey said.
“Sometimes we need an escape to another world or another time where life was a little bit easier.
“The costumes are beautiful and it’s just a beautiful play. It’s a comedy, but it’s not your barrel of laughs, ‘ha ha’ type of comedy. There’s no horrible character or evil villain.”
Starring Lauren Atkin as Lucy Honeychurch, the elegant comedy written in 1908 is widely recognised as one of the finest novels of the 20th century. Foster was the master of building romantic suspense out of psychological repression.
“She’s (Atkin) in every scene and is doing a phenomenal job for a young person,” Davey said.
“She is 23, but has to portray someone who is 18 during that time, which isn’t easy to do.”
The production will feature music from the early 1900s.
“I always love to incorporate music into the stuff I do in theatre,” Davey said.
“You can use it as a means to create comedy or pull heart strings.”
A Room With a View will be performed at the Shenton Theatre from 11 to 26 August. For tickets, head to www.trybooking.com/NSWF.