An encounter between the PKU audience and a classic
Peking University, April 2, 2017: On the night of March 19, 2017, Britain Chapterhouse Theater staged the dramaWuthering Heights in Peking University Hall. This drama was adapted from Emily Bronte’s novel and told a story about love and revenge.
Britain Chapterhouse Theater, founded in 1996, is a well-known touring theater. It is good at allowing more people to access masterpieces and expanding the influence of classics by rearranging them into impressive dramas. Many British newspapers and magazines, such as The Derby County Times and Herald, think highly of this theater’s attempt to represent the soul of classics and bring enjoyment to the audience through excellent rearrangement and performance.
The poster of the drama
The director of this drama said that the adapter speeded up the tempo but kept loyal to the original novel in terms of characters and main plots. Such adaptation strengthened the conflict between love and hatred and made this drama full of emotional ups and downs.
The difference between the drama and the original novel is shown obviously in the opening part. Both the drama and the novel narrate from the end of the whole story. As for the difference, the drama brings out one of the most important characters, Cathy, in act one to quicken the tempo and intensify conflicts, while the novel starts the story from the perspective of a stranger, Mr. Lockwood.
Drama – a doomed tragedy
In act one, Cathy wanders on the moors and finds a tree engraved with the name of her mother Catherine and her uncle Heathcliff. She is curious about the story between her mother and uncle, so she resorts to the babysitter Nelly who took care of Catherine when she was young. Nelly tells Cathy a story which happened 20 years ago.
Cathy finding the tree engraved with the names Catherine and Heathcliff
As the daughter of Catherine and her husband Edgar, Cathy’s appearance shows the tragic end of the love between Catherine and Heathcliff. By arranging Cathy as the first character to appear in the drama, the adapter speeds up the tempo and offers the audience a quick glance at a doomed tragedy.
Novel – an unexpected encounter
The novel begins with a stranger Lockwood who rents Thrushcross Grange from the landlord Heathcliff. When Lockwood visits Heathcliff for the first time, he is attracted by Heathcliff’s strange manner and behavior. It happens to snow heavily, so he has to stay in Heathcliff’s house for the whole night. In the bedchamber, he finds books left by a former dweller named Catherine and sees the ghost of Catherine. Lockwood asks the housekeeper Nelly, and Nelly tells him the story about the whole family.
Compared with the drama, the novel begins the story from a stranger’s perspective and provides the audience with few clues about the tragedy. The novel seems like an unexpected encounter, while the drama implies a doomed tragedy.
Written by: Hu Rong
Edited by: Xu Liangdi
Source: PKU News (in Chinese)