Were she immortal, Jane Austen would be celebrating her 242nd birthday next month. But what am I saying? She is immortal. Not in the creepy manner of vampires, but in how she lives through all of us who remember and honor her in our own particular ways: re-reading, adaptations, cosplay, fanfictions. Join us on Dec. 6 for one unique homage as professional actors perform scenes from The Jane Austen Project.
Amateur theatricals were a formative influence in Austen’s childhood. As an adult, she loved theater-going while on visits to her brother Henry in London, and her novels address how the strictures of society often require playing a part one may not feel (and, as in Mansfield Park, the perils of actual acting). The Jane Austen Project shares this preoccupation: its time travelers must work at pretending to be what they are not as they navigate 1815’s social minefields.
The story blends romance, time travel and the world of Jane Austen as its two heroes travel back to nineteenth-century England and enter the Austen family’s inner circle. Booklist describes this singular tale as “written in an engaging Austen style, full of witty dialogue, a secret engagement, and a delightful clan of loving siblings.”
The entertainment is a collaboration of two local New York Metro area JASNA members, the author Kathleen A. Flynn and the playwright/performer Sarah Rose Kearns. Flynn, an editor at The New York Times when not trying to write novels, studied English literature at Barnard College. Kearns, who studied creative writing at Columbia University and acting at HB studio and whose previous work includes a theatrical adaptation of “Persuasion,” will join a talented cast further consisting of Marc LeVasseur and Kate Armstrong Ross. LeVasseur, a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, has performed off-Broadway and regionally at such venues as Red Bull, The Flea, New York Classical Theater, and Titan Theatre Co. Ross is an award-winning actress known for her work in independent film and in the long-running comedy show “Point Break LIVE!” After the performance, Robert A. K. Gonyo, a theatre director and podcaster, will moderate a conversation with Flynn and Kearns about Austen, adaptations, and the enduring power of genius.
Where: Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore, 939 Lexington Ave., New York (near 69th Street)
When: Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free, but please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org so the bookstore has an idea of headcount.
More information at our Eventbrite page.