Sophia Backstage! with R&D company Concert Theatre


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to music

An-Ting Chang is on a mission; to create hybrid theatre, combining classical music with drama, she wants the performance to speak to the audience not just via the actors’ dialogue but also the music,

“I hear music as a language and I want to extend classical music to a larger audience.”

And where better to experiment than our renowned R&D programme.

My first meeting with the team of five; director An-Ting, lighting and set designer Jing Wang, pianist Diana Brekalo and actors Jessica Macdonald and Rory Potts was not the most auspicious as I vied for their attention whilst they thrashed out their ideas; I eventually left them in peace with heightened curiosity as to how it was all going to pan out but at least I was able to enjoy Diana’s recital of Brahms Rhapsody Op. 79

So as I took my front row seat, along with the Bridport Library Reading Group whose book of choice just happened to be The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, I wondered what might be in store.

“I like Brontë’s book very much but we can do what we want and I want to focus on a 19th century woman wanting to be an artist for a living not a hobby” said An-Ting.

Divided into five segments, each having a pre-narrative explaining what was coming next; the first cleverly performed by Jessica portraying Helen’s son Arthur Jr as a typically precocious nose-picking little boy!

“I had the right background for this performance.”

Rory’s portrayal of adulterous husband Arthur Huntingdon was despicably precise but in striking contrast is his volte-face into the love struck Gilbert that was equally sincere.

“This was a good opportunity to do something I was pretty sure I would like.”

Each scene is accompanied by Diana’s excellent piano playing including music by Brahms, Scriabin and Mozart, although it was occasionally difficult to hear some of the dialogue above the piano.

I greatly enjoyed the acting and the piano playing and agree music is indeed a language, but, perhaps of its own?

Thanks Sophia! More next week…