Anderson University’s production of “J. Eyre” will hit the stage tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in Byrum Hall. Based on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, the story sees Jane grow in strength and confidence as she uses her wit and courage to navigate a world that afforded women few rights.
Those familiar with the original novel are likely to notice a few changes in this adaptation. The interpretation takes on a modern perspective of the classic story that truly considers the consequences of its characters’ actions.
With mystery, love, and music, there will be more than enough to make the showing worthwhile. As weeks of work reach their culmination, it is important to consider the massive amount of time and energy that goes into putting on a professional-quality production like “J. Eyre.”
Director and adjunct instructor of dance, Kenny Shepard believes that musicals like “J. Eyre” give students “opportunities for real world experiences they’ll encounter in their professional careers.” In this case, the cast have had the chance to consult with Paige Scott, the playwright and composer of the musical, to get advice.
Shepard said these shows are learning experiences where the students “each have breakthroughs as actors, singers and storytellers and become empowered. Watching this happen and being part of their journey is incredible.”
For the students and faculty who organize and act out the show, rehearsals take place almost every day. All the actors are also expected to help with backstage work like set painting. There are also numerous jobs that are less visible but still critical like conducting, costuming and directing the spotlights.
Abigail Mercer is a first time actress at Anderson University, who portrays the daughter of Mr. Rochester, Jane’s love interest. She said, “One of the main challenges for me personally has been juggling all the practices with all my school.”
At the same time, Mercer has found the experience to be very rewarding and valuable, adding that what makes the work worth it is the community. She said, “I love all of the people that are in the show with me. We have lots of fun backstage. It’s been really good getting to know them.”
Performances will be in Byrum Hall on Thursday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 15 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Additional information can be found posted outside Byrum Hall.
“J. Eyre” will be the last musical of the school year, and auditions for next season’s shows will be held on April 25 from 6 to 10 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building.