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Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist
California’s Home for the Classics
A Noise Within’s 2008/2009
Season of Awakenings!
California’s Home for the Classics
Table of Contents
2 3 6 7 Table of Contents Characters, Cast, and Synopsis A Biography of Charles Dickens Oliver Twist and the Hero’s Journey
10 Timeline of Child Labor in Dickensian England 12 Dickens’ Oliver Twist: An Interview with Neil Bartlett
14 Staging Dickens: Making A New Stage Version of Oliver Twist 16 Oliver with a Twist 20 Vocabulary from Oliver Twist 22 VISUAL ARTS: Creating the World of Oliver Twist 24 26
Set design by Kurt Boetcher.
The Music of Oliver Twist Bibliography/Resources About Theatre Arts About A Noise Within
Portions of this study guide reprinted by courtesy of the American Repertory Theatre, Cambridge, Mass.
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2 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season
Sowerberry haggle with Mr. an orphaned and impoverished child in 1837. Scene Four: Oliver walks to London. Scene Three: Oliver prentissed. The pair intends to take advantage of Oliver’s sorrowful face to add just the right mournful touch to their funeral ceremonies. I want some more. 3 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season Oliver comes forward and makes his famous request: “Please sir. and of the circumstances attending his birth. Brownlow Rose Noah Claypole Charlotte Mr. Noah Claypole. take a dislike to Oliver and torment him about his mother. Sowerberry Nancy Bill Sikes Pollock. and endures the horrendous conditions typical of orphaned children during this period. The company assures the audience that Oliver is the principle of “Good surviving through every adverse circumstance. Plot Summary Scene One: Treats of the place where Oliver Twist was born. His mother. Cast. and maidservant Charlotte. Corney screams in horror. Unwed. A struggle ensues. and endures constant hunger pangs. Oliver now toils under under Mr. It is decided that Oliver will be sold to “anybody who will take Oliver Twist off the hands of this Parish” for five pounds. a parish beadle. education and board.” Mrs. The workhouse board convenes to decide the fate of this ungrateful boy who dares to ask for more food. a fellow apprentice. He encounters on the road a strange sort of young gentleman. We are welcomed by The Artful Dodger to reflect on the piteous life of Oliver Twist.” The Story Begins Oliver’s origins take us back to a workhouse. Oliver is selected by the other boys to ask Mr. She resolves to keep Oliver in her care and feed him gruel. dies during his birth. Bumble. and Mrs. Corney pockets after her death. Toby Mr. the mother has nothing to pass along to Oliver except perhaps a small locket — which Mrs. Bumble for more food. Trembling. Oliver. He encounters a . Scene Two: Oliver Twist’s growth. and Synopsis of Oliver Twist Cast of Characters The Artful Dodger Oliver Mr. Oliver escapes into the night and walks seventy miles to London over the course of seven days. and Oliver is locked inside a coffin. (1737-1823) Characters in Oliver Twist. and a great uproar ensues. Charley. Undertakers Mr. laboring under Doctor and Mrs. Bumble and purchase Oliver for three pounds to use him as their apprentice. Corney. Bumble Fagin Fagin’s Gang: Tom. Sowerberry Mrs.Characters.
Tom Chitlin. and Oliver sleeps. Nancy discovers Oliver. Brownlow.” Scene Twelve: Which shows what became of Oliver Twist after he had been claimed by Nancy. Browlow instructs Oliver to return a stack of books to the bookseller. Rose Brownlow and her father Mr. Brownlow. Scene Eight: Oliver becomes better acquainted with 4 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . She makes a scene — pretending to be Oliver’s sister. and his allegiance is quickly won. Oliver pleads with Fagin to release him. Oliver. Bumble learns from Mrs. distraught over losing track of her little brother. meets Fagin and his gang — Toby Crackit. Brownlow’s instructions. Brownlow’s other daughter died some years ago. and returned forcibly to “…the bosom of his new ‘family’. and purchases experience at a high price. Scene Ten: In which Oliver is taken better care of than he ever was before. Grimwig enters. Oliver is held captive back at Fagin’s lair. and requests that he bring the change back. Oliver’s reception by Fagin and the boys. Naïve and hungry for companionship. They teach Oliver to play a new game — the sole purpose of which is to train fledgling pickpockets. escorted by Dodger. The boys are caught in the act. strange boy” who turns out to be Jack Dawkins — otherwise known as The Artful Dodger. He is arrested and brought before the magistrate. determined to earn the goodwill of the benevolent Mr. Scene Thirteen: While Oliver lay sleeping. He initially presses for prosecution. Oliver observes as Tom practices on Fagin. Brownlow changes course and advocates for Oliver. Meanwhile. They feed Oliver. Mr. Charley and Dodger tip Fagin off to Oliver’s whereabouts — nearby Pentonville. Mr. Bill Sikes convinces Fagin that Oliver may have too much information about the gang’s dealings to be let go. Oliver opts to join the gang. Mr. who is attempting to dutifully carry out Mr. Fagin reveals to Oliver that the gang’s source of support is thievery. sleeps. Charley Bates. slipping a handkerchief out of his pocket. common-faced. Teased by the boys for his new clothes and books. Brownlow accuses Oliver of thievery. the police magistrate. Witnesses to the event resist Mr. Oliver learns from Rose that Mr. Mr. and furnishes a slight specimen of his mode of administering justice. Brownlow nurse Oliver back to health. and Dodger engaged in the act of stealing a handkerchief from an unsuspecting passerby .Mr. Illustration by George Cruikshank. Oliver. The gang readies itself to venture into London to extract trinkets and fancies from unsuspecting pedestrians. The gang is visited by Nancy. but he eventually succeeds in convincing the magistrate to release the boy into his custody. troubled by Oliver’s existence in the house.the characters of his new associates. Scene Nine: Treats of Mr. Nancy is dispatched to collect him and return him to the hideout. Oliver departs. Oliver observes Tom. Brownlow’s attempts to procure mercy for the boy. “dirty. Scene Six: Which is short. while the other boys escape notice. who comes to collect dues from her abusive lover Bill Sikes. Fang. Fagin refuses. To settle the matter of trust. Scene Five: Oliver meets a pleasant old gentleman. and others. Worried that Oliver will “peach” to the authorities. Brownlow to count the silver. Scene Seven: Oliver becomes better acquainted with the merry old gentleman and his hopeful pupils. Oliver. Oliver. Scene Eleven: Showing how very fond of Oliver Twist Bill and Miss Nancy were. Fagin pays Nancy and she departs. with nowhere else to turn. but then realizes that Oliver is quite ill. but a key to one that will follow when its time arrives. In front of a drunken magistrate. Mr. Oliver is spirited away. Corney that the locket stolen from Oliver’s mother upon her deathbed may hold some significance as a clue to Oliver’s family of origin.who isn’t quick enough to escape — is blamed for the attempted theft. and warns Mr. wishing to help him. Charley. follows Dodger through the maze of London streets and shops to Farringdon Road — a well-known den of thieves and London’s underbelly of vagrants and street gangs. In the busy streets of London. exhausted from his journey.
Scene Twenty-One: A ghastly thing to look upon. the law is an ass. and resolve to collect the reward. reconsider their life of crime and attempt to live honest lives. Bumble. The remnants of the gang recount the fate of Fagin — he is to be hanged as accessory to Nancy’s murder on Monday after trial. Bill ties up Oliver and holds him hostage up on the rooftop with a long piece of rope. Mr. Fagin repeats the story to Bill Sikes. However. Bumble utters the famous line. “If the law supposes that. Brownlow’s house and discovers the very same advertisement. Scene Seventeen: The time arrives for Nancy to redeem her pledge to Rose (one week later). Corney is now Mrs. Mr. The two converse about the sins and wickedness of the poor. wracked with guilt. He holds Mr. to inquire about Fagin. Upon collecting their reward from Mr. Scene Twenty-Three: Fagin’s last night alive. to no avail. ties a noose in the rope. Nancy attempts to alleviate her sense of guilt by speaking with Rose by bringing news that Oliver is indeed safe. After a brief conversation with Fagin. Dodger reports that the three lived happily ever after. He plans to cut it with his knife and then drop to the ground. Bill Sikes. Brownlow’s address in Pentonville. Brownlow immediately recognizes the locket was his long-dead daughter. Fagin “…for the first time. Fagin convinces Bill Sikes that Oliver would make an excellent assistant — climbing into small windows to break in to commit crime. Scene Sixteen: Wherein Oliver is delivered over to Mr. bill. Nancy appears. Fagin assures Bill that Oliver will do anything that he wants if he is frightened enough. Mr. and takes her life in anger. Nancy sets off towards the London Bridge to meet Rose. He plans to catapult himself off the roof. Bill returns home to take his revenge. Meanwhile. and Mrs.” Torn apart with guilt over Oliver’s abduction by Bill. Mr. Toby. Scene Twenty: Fatal Consequences. Nancy interrogates Dodger in order to track where they are going. Back at Fagin’s lair. and as the scene comes to a close it is revealed that Dodger has witnessed the entire bargain. Bill enters. held by the rope. Tom and Toby are imprisoned for fraud.” Fagin speaks to Oliver desperately. Bumble reveal that Oliver’s locket had a name engraved inside.❖ 5 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . Oliver cowers in the corner. Nancy arrives at Mr. Desperate to escape. or at least “…as ever can be in this changing world. Fagin wrestles with his fear that Oliver’s knowledge of his criminal exploits will send him to jail and/or the hangman’s noose. and provokes his rage. Dodger repeats that Nancy has betrayed them. pleading with the boy to help secure his release. begrudgingly delivers Oliver to Bill. and worries over the eventual fate of his gang.” Scene Fourteen: Which contains the substance of a pleasant conversation between Mr. as is Dodger himself who eventually dies there. Bill threatens to shoot Oliver if he disobeys any order. is starting to lose his grip. Fagin in his cell speaks aloud to rid himself of his guilt about Oliver. Scene Twenty-Two: On Jacobs Island. Brownlow. Rose makes a last ditch effort to convince Nancy to leave Bill. still caked with blood. citing that the law supposes his wife to be under his direction. devising to escape. and lives in Northamptonshire. Bumble and a Lady. or the members of the gang in return. and goes to leave. A horde of angry onlookers calls for Bill’s capture. Fagin is taken away into the dark.Rose posts a reward on behalf of her father Mr. Only Charley is successful. Nancy extracts their promise that they will not prosecute Fagin. Scene Fifteen: A strange interview. Nancy. They see Mr. Brownlow return home to Rose. and hands her a heavy purse of money. Bill. Charley decides that Fagin must not suffer alone for Bill’s misdeed. Back in Pentonville. or to any person who will “…tend to throw any light upon his history. Mr.” The bell chimes midnight. Scene Eighteen: Containing fresh discoveries. Nancy refuses the money. and takes him away. at the last moment Bill’s foot slips and the hangs himself by accident. Brownlow and Rose do their best to convince her to give up the whereabouts of the boy. Bumble equally to blame. Brownlow vows that neither of the Bumbles will be “…employed in a situation of trust again” as a result of their treachery in stealing the locket. Mrs. It is in response that Mr. Bumble pursue the reward money for information about Oliver and approach Mr. Scene Twenty-Four: And last… Oliver and Mr. Nancy leaves quickly. Bill confronts Nancy for her treachery. Brownlow for the safe return of Oliver. and Tom. She refuses to reveal Oliver’s whereabouts. and Mrs. Brownlow enters to show Oliver the “…full success of his villainy. and alerts the police to Bill’s whereabouts. and Mr.” The rest of the gang — Charley. Brownlow’s announcement in the paper about Oliver Twist. Rose convinces Nancy to set a weekly meeting place where she can receive news about Oliver — they will meet each Sunday on London Bridge at twelve o’clock.
Dickens devoted much of his time and energy to public readings from his novels. Although an unexpected inheritance relieved Dickens’ father from his debt. was born to John and Elizabeth Dickens in Portsmouth. In 1857 Dickens fell in love with an actress named Ellen Ternan. where there were no stages or curtains.” In theatre. players acted outdoors. He is buried in Westminster Abbey. In 1836. and separated from his wife after many years of incompatibility. Dickens married Catherine Hogarth. and Little Dorrit. Applause came in the form of foot stomping. Dickens was confronted with the death of his father and one of his daughters within two weeks. began to contribute a series of impressions and sketches to various publications. Due to financial difficulties. The years spent working in the warehouse made a deep impression on young Charles Dickens. Partly in response to these losses. The same year. inspiring him to include many economic and child labor issues later in his fiction. the family relocated several times until they settled in Camden Town. To break a leg is to earn so many curtain calls that opening and closing the curtain over and over during final applause causes the curtain mechanics to break. and later as a stenographer in the law courts of London. and Great Expectations. Hard Times.A Biography of Charles Dickens Charles Dickens (1812-1870) Charles Dickens. 1812. a “leg” is a part of the mechanics that open and close the curtain. English writer of novels and short stories. Dickens began writing what are now known as his “dark novels” which include Bleak House. the daughter of the editor of a London newspaper. David Copperfield. Dickens spent most of his time reading. he wrote American Notes. During his 30’s. Other novels by Charles Dickens that were adapted into plays produced at A Noise Within include A Christmas Carol. At the outset of theatre tradition. England on February 7th. and upon his return. speaking out strongly for the abolition of slavery and of other reforms. While he worked and lived at the warehouse. he was writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood. As a young child. ❖ 6 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . At the time of his death in 1870. Together they had ten children. When he returned. leaving it unfinished. He is one of the most famous English novelists of the Victorian Era. young Charles was forced to work as an office boy at the age of 15. Dickens’ father was arrested and confined to a debtor’s prison. a poor neighborhood in London. This form of serial writing became a standard method of writing fiction in the Victorian era. At the end of his life. Dickens went on a 5-month long lecture tour of America. which could indicate another origin of this phrase. where at the age of 12 Dickens was sent to work in a “blacking” or shoe polish warehouse. Theatre Lore Why do actors say “break a leg”? Perhaps the saying comes—in a complicated way—from the use of “leg. By 1832 he became a reporter for two London newspapers and in the following year. Dickens began to write The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club in several monthly installments.
Rose Brownlow. Campbell described the hero’s journey as a unifying theme of mythology and folklore throughout the world across time. dreams of receiving more than the meager sustenance and loveless existence he has at his orphanage home. After becoming lost in London’s underground and being held hostage. but reasserts in her work Deconstructing the Hero: main largely inactive. hero’s return varies. Most feature behind.) but not an assistant along the left behind. Mr. Indeed. characters! 7 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . which is consistent with the hero’s a male hero who receives spiritual or physical journey model. Women are seen a common theme. Oliver eventually emerges triumphant. and offers a brief description of the hero’s journey in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Oliver’s Mother has died in assistance from another being — usually an childbirth. Brownlow. and outlines the structure of the hero’s journey: If Campbell were to summarize Oliver Twist within the context of the hero’s journey. As with most traditional hero’s journeys. all other characters in Oliver Twist serve the hero in one way or another. to return entirely — in other examples of the or a goal to reach (Odysseus wishes to return tale he returns to the love of the woman he to his wife. Mr.30) There are more deOliver at Mrs. and Nancy. unable to advocate successfully for with the women who surround him. reclaiming his place among the upper class. Bumble’s cruelty provides the hero with the impetus to seek his eventual fortune. (Campbell. p. the main elements of actual journey. The exact nature of the as useless to assist the hero in his journey. This ground-breaking work traces the story through many cultures and time periods. it might sound like this: Oliver. low-life people are in hero’s journey stories. Maylie's Door. As with most traditional hero’s journeys. Brownlow serves him by providing the way out of his predicament of poverty. However. Sometimes he refuses They may remain as a source of inspiration. tails that define the All female characters traditional hero’s in Oliver Twist are left journey according to Campbell. Illustration by George Cruikshank. Literary theorist Margery Hourihan only to further the hero’s progress. and Nancy meets an untimely animal. and food. He maintains a shallow relationship death. He receives assistance along the way from his deceased Mother’s legacy via Mr. the hero meets vary from tale to tale. information. The types of challenges Literary Theory and Children’s Literature. Hourihan asserts that the hero’s journey remain the same. all other characters in Oliver Twist serve the hero in one way or another. Women herself and pry herself from the clutches of provide the inciting incident and are used Bill Sykes. but that this is the typical treatment of women wild animals and unsavory. white male hero of Oliver Twist. Fagin’s gang serves him by providing shelter. A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. and usuwomen in hero’s journey stories are not even ally occur in the same order.Oliver Twist and The Hero’s Journey Oliver Twist is a version of the “hero’s journey” — a term identified in 1948 by literary scholar Joseph Campbell.
he is destined to prevail. and the reader knows how it has ended in every other example they have encountered. Despite the circumstances which seem to afford Oliver precious few other options.) The traditional hero is the “self”. The hero’s journey also reinforces the idea of the ‘natural’ superiority of the first component of each dualism. heroes are traditionally young. old/young. the certainty of the hero’s triumph works in concert with the familiar dualisms to arouse in the reader “…excitement and desire. Australian) literature. p. such as Dickens’ David Copperfield. The identity of the hero is “us” and the identity of the hero’s foes is “them”. the reader of Oliver Twist senses that no matter what depths to which Oliver must sink in order to survive.48) Hourihan firmly states that as a rule. p. This points to another key element essential to a traditional hero’s journey tale — the certainty of triumph. it is nevertheless a conscious decision on his part to join the underbelly of thieves. and male/female. many modern writers and filmmakers will raise the stakes of each successive trial the hero encounters — so that his success seems more and more improbable. Hourihan and Campbell both link the hero’s youth to the coming-of-age motif so often featured in American and other European-influenced (i.46) The “traditional dualisms” Hourihan refers to are themes that work in pairs opposite each other in hero’s journey stories.” Oliver is indeed the first to ever commit the unheard of act of asking for more gruel. male/female. it could be that authors knowingly or unknowingly include clues that all will be well. and “male” are supported over their counterparts “other”. the desire to know what will happen next. She does not use her voice to grasp at a new agency in her own life. These include white/black. This is true of Oliver Twist. but fantasy and science fiction are free to invent images of the others which emphasize our qualities by the force of contrast. and their journeys are often used to describe their coming-of-age. […] Because readers have experienced similar text before they know that the hero will triumph and the story will assert the traditional dualisms. (Hourihan.) Indeed. According to Hourihan. (Dickens. The reader expects victory by the end of the traditional hero’s journey. of ‘them’. However.156-7) Oliver Twist conforms to the classic hero’s journey pattern in this very essential way. or Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles. only to be restimulated as the hero moves on to the next challenge. As Hourihan observes. Hourihan extends her observation to postulate that: “In ‘realistic’ hero tales the identity of the enemy. and the story seems to conform to the “early assertion of will and dominance. “logic”.Firstly it is necessary to realize that the women are. This is seen in modern movie reviews of films that use the hero’s journey format. with their themes of adolescence realized through worldly challenges. “self”. Or. (Hourihan. (Ibid. logic/emotion. essentially. even in the most desperate moments of the story. In most versions of the myth there is no recognition of a future in which they will grow old. “emotion” and “female”. and so they have no difficulty in decoding it. one measurement of a good hero’s journey story is that at times it is less easy to predict the hero’s triumph — but that the hero does indeed triumph. as his foes become the “other”. She describes a kind of ebb and flow as the reader develops heightened concern for the hero and then lapses into satisfaction as he meets each challenge: 8 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season “As each incident in the story concludes the desire is temporarily satisfied. p. Thus. doubtlessly included these obstacles also as a way to hook readers into coming back to read each subsequent installment of the story.e.” (Ibid. “Heroes are young. and nature/civilization. and the effect of this is to suggest that women are of no significance except when they make an impact upon men.” (Hourihan. Literature reinforces these dualisms when it conforms to the hero’s journey model. It is Oliver who chooses to begin a life of crime as a pickpocket in Fagin’s gang. pp. changes to reflect political circumstances.” In order to achieve this less predictable quality. It is easy to see the many dichotomies present within hero’s journey stories that parallel these — such as white versus black. logic/ emotion. This is perhaps because the hero’s journey format is so prevalent in literature. as Oliver encounters one obstacle after another — each seemingly more challenging to overcome. having written Oliver Twist as a serial publication.” (Hourihan. the hero story needs merely a linear progression in order to retain its reader’s interest.) Oliver Twist contains key features prevalent in hero’s journey stories — the dualisms of self/other. A movie is seen as “bad” if it is too “predictable. not characters at all but symbols in the hero’s psyche.” Hourihan would classify Oliver Twist as a classic version of the hero’s journey. Her ability to speak serves only the purpose of assisting the hero. According to Hourihan. Oliver is nine years old in the text. or power over versus cooperation with.3) . Because the story is always narrated from the hero’s point of view women appear only insofar as they are involved in his adventures. and that the hero will prevail. Hourihan would perhaps argue that Nancy is not even a character in the story.
the dualisms between logic and reason. and the theatrical versions of the novel are performed numerous times each year in the U. causing logic to fail. and abroad. The story is narrated by or for the “self”. source on-line. However. their presence — a familiar. the Sowerberrys. Theorists like Campbell and Hourihan establish that these dualisms permeate myths and stories throughout nearly every culture in the world. Closely linked to the “self”/“other” is another key dualism featured in hero’s journeys — “logic” and “reason” versus “emotion”. and the Magistrate Oliver encounters in Oliver Twist are classic examples of the “other”. These underpinnings reveal a refusal to imbue any character other than the hero with meaningful emotion. her “hyster”. p. sometimes silly or trifling. and the “other” to “emotion”. she would become literally insane as her womb — or in Greek. and linked emotion to females. Hiding his face in his hands. Euro-centric literature. the “other” causes their own downfall when emotions run amok. few so young may ever have cause to pour our before him.…these dualisms permeate myths and stories throughout nearly every culture in the world. Notably. ❖ 9 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . Oliver himself remains an iconic literary figure. and it included the viewpoint that logic is vastly superior to emotion. he wept — wept such tears as. In Twist. and throughout every age recorded. It reinforces traditional gender roles and dualisms of logic/emotion and self/other. the hero triumphs over his foes through a combination of cunning (logic/reason) and physical strength. and civilized versus wild are present and operating efficiently within Oliver Twist. It could easily be concluded that the average reader of hero’s journey stories in children’s literature is well-versed in these dualisms. and the “other” bears easily identifiable characteristics such as race or class. that heroes are often male in traditional. In the traditional hero’s journey story. irrational. or psychological depth. (Reuther. They are wild. Thus. rationale.S. Oliver struggles with the polarized forces of logic versus emotion. The “self” and “other” in the traditional hero’s journey are clearly drawn.) The members of Fagin’s gang. Indeed. Bumble. The European roots of the “logic” versus “emotion” dualism arise from classical Greece. This links the “self” to “reason”. Their cruelty and oppression of the innocent Oliver is motivated solely by abhorrence of the poor. In summary. (Plato. Traditionally. Oliver’s sole moment of emotion occurs in Scene Four after the confrontation with the Sowerberrys: DODGER: It was not until he was left alone that Oliver gave way to his feelings. including Rosemary Radford Reuther in New Woman New Earth. It makes sense then. and bent on destruction of Oliver — the “self”. This is a fascinating view — and perhaps could be extended to theorize the way in which hero’s journey stories may serve political aims of governments. and has been translated into many different languages. physically wandered up to block off the air to her rational mind. Mr. Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle framed the nature versus nurture debate for the first time. These factors testify to Oliver Twist’s durability both as a work of fiction and as a play. the Greeks associated logic and reason with males. The novel Oliver Twist is still in print. it is evident that this logical hero only allows himself a moment of emotion when utterly alone — so that no one bears witness to his weakness. understandable element within a story — greatly enriches the reading (or play-viewing) experience. (When viewed within the context of wartime propaganda. and its power to inspire in diverse audiences great interest and hope.69) Women were intrinsically prone to hysteria in Aristotle’s world. God send for the credit of our natures. Thus. and throughout every age recorded. this idea has merit. Reuther asserts the word “hysterectomy” came from Aristotle’s theory that if a woman were not pregnant frequently. Empirical observation of this literature and movies provides us with proof that this is true. Oliver Twist is a traditional hero’s journey.) Aristotle’s Poetics is widely accepted to be one of the most foundational works that influenced modern literature. Greekinspired. Here. According to many feminist theorists. self versus other.
minimum wage is $6. modeled after the Paris Exhibition of 1949 1860 A mere half of all children (approximately) in London have some kind of education. 1802-1819 The first parliamentary acts are passed to regulate the work of workhouse children in factories and cotton mills — attempting to limit their workdays to only 12 hours. 1837 Queen Victoria becomes Queen at the age of 18.70 per hour. worth one twentieth of a pound. In the United States today. which aims to end child labor entirely. where the poor are sent to work off their debts.00 per week. These are largely ineffectual.000 people die of starvation. so they are able to reside there in return for doing work. Australia. 1851 The Crystal Palace Exhibition — a fair of modern engineering and manufacturing arts. Minimum wage in London today is £5.69.Timeline of Child Labor in Dickensian England Children work in a coal mine as “hurriers” — bringing goods from place to place as quickly as they can. Thousands of prostitutes between the ages of 15-22 at work in London. A typical week’s wages for the average child laborer in 19th Century London was 4 shillings per week. 14% of the workforce in 1740 was under age 14. This to be enforced in all of England by a total of four inspectors. A child works in a coal mine as a coal tub puller. which includes Sunday school. 5 new pence.55 per hour — a typical 40 hour week would result in a laborer earning $262. Only approximately 20 percent of children in London have any schooling at all. Large numbers of immigrants flee to Britain. 1840 First postage stamps came into use. 1850 Approximately 120. or 12 old pence prior to 1971. WAGES: NOW VERSUS THEN Shilling: A coin used in the United Kingdom. children as young as age 3 were permitted to work up to 16 hours per day. 1824 Charles Dickens works in the Blacking Factory as a result of his family’s sentence to debtor’s prison. Today. Previously. 1834 Poor Law sets up workhouses. 1842 The Mines Act is passed.000 domestic servants in London alone — most work 80 hour weeks for one halfpence per hour. The other half spend their days working. that children aged 9-11 may only work 8 hour days. and children under age 9 are not recommended to work at all. Many are without homes. This means that child workers in Dickensian England earned approximately 34 cents per week. or 1/5 of a pound. 1833 Whig party government recommends that children aged 11-18 be allowed to work 12 hours per day. 1845-49 The Great Potato famine of Ireland. a pound is equivalent to $1. and the United States. The average wage for an adult worker during this time was 15 shillings — nearly 4 times as much. Canada.73 or $9. 800. 1 0 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . 1847 Parliament passes the Ten Hours Bill — which limits both adults and all children to work 10 hours per day.
England Sarah Gooder. I wear nothing but my chemise. they are all naked there. As recently as August of this year. age 14 I have worked down in pit five years. I cannot read or write. Children were frequently beaten and were subject to verbal abuse. Scott and Alexander Baltzly. I am got well used to that.. One study reports that as recently as the late 1990’s. I am very sleepy when I go sometimes in the morning. I have 12 brothers and sisters — all of them but one live at home. According to UNICEF. The case has been turned over to the Attorney General for prosecution of “egregious violations of virtually every aspect of Iowa’s child labor laws. However. and wind. CHILD LABOR IN 2008 Children are still forced to work in many countries around the globe today. I dare not sing then.THE TREATMENT OF CHILD LABORERS Children working in factories during Dickensian England were frequently orphans. but does not make it entirely illegal. is not immune to this atrocity. Testimonies of Child Workers in the Coal Mines of Gawber. I go up at six. and come down at seven o’clock about. in 1930. The child was then forced to walk up and down the aisles in full view of the other children working as an example. and led to severe back and neck injuries. Raids in recent years on factories in India and Liberia have revealed children as young as 5 years old operating machinery and working in illegal embroidery and tire factories. published by Appleton-Century-Crofts. She knows her letters. but I have to trap without a light and I’m scared.000 children under age 14 working in the United States. and did not like it. These testimonies were reprinted in. children reported not being given time during the day to eat — even if there was food available they were not allowed to stop working in order to have a meal. This was called being “weighted”. I go to Sunday-schools and read Reading Made Easy. I don’t like being in the pit. Laws prohibiting child labor exist in many countries. and don’t care now much about it. or write. there are an estimated 250 million child laborers aged 2 to 17 worldwide. and come out at five and half past. every country in the world except Somalia and the United States signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child. One consequence of being late for work that was often inflicted on child workers was to tie a heavy weight around their neck. they weave. conditions were squalid and food was scarce. sometimes seven. Often. but three of them go to Sunday-school. and can read little words. none of the rest can. the Iowa meat packing plant Postville revealed it had employed 57 minors in violation of State Law. Inc. I go at four and sometimes half past three in the morning. which provides the strongest governing language prohibiting child labor. but still have yet to be developed in many areas. I was afraid at first. there were still over 59. I never go to sleep. I do not like working in pit. father is working in next pit. One child reported that food left uneaten by the children was given to the hogs because there was no set meal time. or trousers.] I would like to be at school far better than in the pit. or shoes. aged 8 years I’m a trapper in the Gawber pit. [. Readings in European History Since 1814. but I am obliged to get a living. Maltreatment of the child workforce was often justified by factory owners because room and board were often provided for these homeless children. I have to go up to the headings with the men. and one is a counter.S. edited by Jonathan F. Mary Barrett.. they never went to day-school. but not in the dark. they never behave rudely to me. Sometimes I sing when I’ve light.” 1 1 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . The U. one of them can read. I work always without stockings. It does not tire me. I hurry for my brother John. and hurry. In 1990.
vivid — was there from the start — something that would rise to the occasion of Dicken’s incredibly vivid and forceful prose.1992) . a music-theatre collective with whom he created thirteen original pieces including the semi-legendary Sarrasine. 1989). a new staging of The Rake’s Progress for the Aldeburgh Festival in 2006. From 1988 1998 he worked as part of Gloria. In 2001 he was awarded an OBE for his work at the Lyric. Maugham. In 1994 he was controversially appointed Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith in London. but a melodrama in the simplest (and best) sense of the word. His solo performance pieces have recently been collected in the volume Solo Voices. or did that come afterwards? Could you describe a bit of that artistic journey? What led you to choose to adapt the play to be interwoven so closely with music? NB: The composer Gerard McBurney and the musical director Simon Deacon were fully involved in the story — boarding and development of the adaptation. A Judgement in Stone (with Sheila Hancock). The sound world — rough. Marivaux and of Dickens (Oliver Twist. Christopher Marlowe’s Dido Queen of Carthage at the American Repertory Theatre in Boston. was premiered at the National Theatre in London in 2000. Moliere. Since 2005 his work has included. did you work with a composer during the writing process. Who Was That Man? (1988). Your play features characters that break the fourth wall — could you share some of your thoughts that went into this artistic decision? (Perhaps there were other plays that featured a similar element that inspired you? Students who come to our shows NEIL BARTLETT Neil was an early member of Complicite. Ready to catch him should he fall (1990).Genet. a Twelfth Night for the Royal Shakespeare Company with John Lithgow as Malvolio. Wilde and Rattigan alongside populist Christmas shows and collaborations with Robert Lepage and Improbable Theatre . collaborating on their Perrier-Award-winning More Bigger Snacks Now in 1985. Kleist. a site-specific performance based on Wladislaw Szpilman’s The Pianist with concert pianist Mikhail Rudy for the first Manchester International Festival and a new staging of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband for the Abbey. So was the idea of using tunes stolen from popular music of the period as the starting point for the score. A Christmas Carol. Right from the start. rather than writing “ lyrics”. was a polemic study of Wilde. Then we hit on the idea that the band should be Fagin’s gang — that the boys should be street musicians as well as thieves — and we were off. As well as being a director. His first book. neil-bartlett. His future theatre projects include collaboration with Justin Bond and a major new commission for the second Manchester International Festival in 2009. and The Seven Sacraments of Nicolas Poussin. a drama with music. a staging of his own new translation of Genet’s The Maids for the Brighton Festival. a transfer of his staging of Oliver Twist from Boston to off-Broadway and The Berkeley Rep. Bartlett also works as a playwright. Ireland’s National Theatre. Neil’s website is www. Mr Clive and Mr Page (1996) and. Marivaux. Skin Lane. his first opera production. translator and author. His adaptations of Moliere. the intention was that the story should be told with music — that the piece should be quite specifically NOT a musical. he has also published acclaimed three novels. A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep. most recently.com. in a workshop — and found that actors loved that idea of talking directly to the audience in song. raucous. Over the next eleven years he staged twentynine productions including radical reevaluations of Shakespeare. his play In Extremis.Dickens’ Oliver Twist: An Interview with Neil Bartlett Neil Bartlett ANW: In adapting Oliver Twist. commissioned for Corin Redgrave to mark the centenary of Oscar Wilde’s death. He also staged theatre pieces for the Derby Playhouse (The School for Wives. Great Expectations) in particular have been performed throughout the world. which was nominated for the Costa Award in 2007. the Royal Court (Night After Night. 1 2 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . We tried out the idea of singing the prose — using it as written. 1993) and the National Theatre In London (The Game of Love and Chance.
Also the adaptation was created first time round for a late — nineteenth century theatre. Those families are the families of the dream and of nightmare. often read Our Town. In your work with Twist. We knew right from the start that the narrator would be the company — not a solitary.. Twist is a very involving story — it’s about provoking extremes of sympathy and horror. an actual melodrama — playhouse — the Lyric Hammersmith — in which the audience is very close to the actors. ❖ 1 3 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . His feelings of abandonment are expressed in a very extreme form (even more so than in Great Expectations).. did you research Dickens’ own life? To what extent do you think does Dickens’ personal biography affect his view of children as depicted in Twist? All of Dickens work is very autobiographi- cal. is the mother Oliver never had. He transforms his own experience of being abandoned in London by his parents into a weird parallel experience in which an abandoned orphan is offered two wildly differing surrogate families — the good family of the Brownlows..Fagin. which features a narrator — do you feel the treatment of the narration in Twist is similar. the kind of theatre which invites that communication. or merely a social — realist one. Dickens takes hopes and fears that we can all share — the most primary ones there can be — and acts them out in the darkest possible land of the imagination. the image of the child in peril is real on both levels. and if so how?) Dickens tells his stories in order to affect people — he talks directly to the reader all the time. Dickens’ narration is not cool — it is hot. distanced figure. So for me it would be inconceivable to have a staging which didn’t do this. angry.. in a way.. and the dark family of Fagin. but a company of very engaged actors. comic. But his great trick is to make us believe that the world of Twist is not merely a surreal one. This play brings to light some of the socalled underbelly of Dickensian London — what fascinates you about this world? I love underbellies.. Underbellies are what we go the theatre for — we can get nice at home.Set design by Kurt Boetcher. but Twist especially so. demanding engagement and a shared response.
The hero sinks upon his bed. Returning to the original words — even for the singing in the show — was the main way in which I hoped to avoid any bowdlerization of the tale. in all good murderous melodrama. this is a decision which has been abided by.Staging Dickens: Making A New Stage Version of Oliver Twist Program notes by Neil Bartlett Oliver amazed at the Dodger’s mode of “going to work.” Fagin in the condemned cell. and which words I have chosen to omit. Illustrations are by George Cruikshank from the 1836 edition of Oliver Twist. reveal what I personally care most about in this story. but also has to make the audience feel that they are encountering the story anew. as compelling and as wickedly comic as Dickens’ words are. the next scene regales the audience with comic song. that they are hearing and seeing things which they either never knew or had forgotten were there. the extraordinary energy and volatility. Chapter 17 1 4 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . With the exception of one or two short phrases necessitated by the telescoping of the novel’s plot.’ —Oliver Twist. in as regular alternation. afresh. Indeed. I wanted the show to be as alarming. weighed down by misfortune. The Question of Tone ‘It is the custom on the stage. as the layers of red and white in a side of streaky bacon. to present the tragic and the comic scenes. It has to deliver all the famous bits (so that no one feels short-changed). Of course. the sadistic black comedy and sheer dramatic guts of Dickens’ actual sentences are the raisons d’être of this piece. which words I have chosen to include. I hope. Any new stage version of a story which the audience feels they not only know but own before the curtain even rises has to do two apparently contradictory things. The first decision taken in making this adaptation was that it would be made out of Dickens’ original language and nothing but.
family for its orphan hero. when sensationalism combines with Dickens did. I think. but Fagin and the It is only when melodrama is allowed to rub shoulders Dodger. and a coward. simply subject matter taken from the lower depths of urban poverty. to kill off not just Nancy and Bill. They demand that the audience enjoys the most alarming leaps of dramatic tone. That is what fiction means. so deeply rooted in their creator’s own childhood. the gothic funeral-parlour of the can only describe with the tautology ‘Dickensian. believe in: safety. This is why the greatest and strangest scene of the script does not try to shift Dickens book. To achieve this end. his audience.What do we mean by the word ‘Dickensian’? Not. Mr. namely. are powerful. the boys Fagin says he finds sleeping rough at Kings Cross are very like the teenagers who still sleep rough there. paradoxically. after all. Every scene in the book can be read in this light. in their archetypically opposite worlds.’ I’ve taken Mr. to mother him. Sowerberry — even Noah Claypole and Charlotte — all attempt. but rather working-out of the story may surprise relish it. and Mrs. with such wholehearted seriousness. Nancy’s dream of a possible home for Oliver — her determination that he will have the childhood she knows has been stolen from her — is so fierce. and still finds time for plenty of rambling low comedy from the Bumbles. Everyone (even Mr. that would demand of its audiences who only know it from actors they engage with their audifilms. In the absence of Oliver’s mother. I wanted to arrive at a script whose economy would encourage the actors to concentrate on trying to get back to the blunt realities of the original cast-list. One of them gets the whole proceedings down to thirty handwritten pages. a teenage prostitute with a violent owner. the most serious of writers. the baldly stated moral. Fagin and Mr. The Importance of Being Earnest This is a story with a single over-riding desire. to find a 1 5 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . Rather. they employ the most remarkable combinations of comedy with horror. I wanted to create an adaptation that would not shy away Some of the events of the great final from this seriousness. where. and in his madness based. serialized novel had been published — have scripts of quite extraordinary ferocity and brevity. construct surrogate families for Oliver. Bumble. Mr. in their various twisted ways. psychologised ‘literary’ theatre. All of these conflicting dreams of family life. Grimwig) is convinced that they know the right way for the boy to live. Dickens is. by Gustav Dore. Brownlow and Rose seriously. In doing all of this they are of course entirely in keeping with Dickens’ own dramatic and dramatizing instincts in Oliver Twist. the tableau and the melodrama.’ —Miss Prism.’ Sowerberries. The first nineteenth-century stagings of Oliver Twist — some made even before the final parts of the original. I’ve even dared to believe. I’ve dared move alarmingly (demandingly) through all its intensely felt and highly coloured original shifts of theatrical tone. Brownlow. I’ve kept what for me is the Illustration of a Peddlar. Fagin is Jewish. In editing Dickens’ labyrinthine plot. Bill is a violent housebreaker. They all seek to unashamedly achieve one objective. in that he takes this task of engaging us. that it kills her. as Dickens does. every character too. but lets his story realises that Oliver is ‘somehow the cause of all this. to rouse the audience. They are also very fond of (and good at) employing those most powerful forms of theatrical shorthand. that after all the strange violent parodies fierce and socially committed satire. on the night before his into some solid or polite middle ground of dialoguedeath. Nancy is. and the bad unhappily. I think we mean a distinctive way of dramatizing what is seen. not a musical-comedy star. and his vicious rage is that of someone who lives excluded from everything we might conceivably call society. that you arrive in of family life that claim him — the brutal workhouse the particular world of the dramatic imagination that we of the Bumbles. as with psychodrama. ence above all else. and Mrs. satire with sentiment. the nightmare inversion of all maternal values in Fagin’s den — the motherless Oliver’s destiny The Plot is the one we must all. ❖ ‘The good ended happily. Fagin goes mad with terror. despite our evidence to the contrary.
Who could blame them? As the production history of Oliver Twist indicates. George Almar’s Oliver Twist.” Many novelists including Jane Austen. Theatre Lore What is a raked stage? Where do the terms upstage and downstage originate? Historically. In school he attended the Theatre Royal at Rochester. The final installment of the novel. Compared to other literary genres. But Dickens saw this production in 1838. Midway through the first scene of a staged adaptation of Oliver Twist. stages were built on inclines. enabling the novel to exist. and the Victorian Popular Theatre. Some theatres. 1 6 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . Novel Reading. theatres started placing seats on inclines instead of stages. despite orders from his doctor to cease because when he read certain passages like Sikes’ murder of Nancy in Oliver Twist. and wrote a tragedy entitled Misnar. a one-act farce with a minimum of five songs. Dickens was no exception. burlesque. directed by Neil Bartlett. That didn’t stop cunning entrepreneurs from founding unlicensed theatres. by the nineteenth century the novel had barely reached puberty — and suffered growing pains. but merged with it. Charles Dickens lay down on the floor of his box and refused to rise until the curtain. he garnered high esteem as an actor in amateur productions for charity. An avid theatre-goer. Searching for a career. Dickens inspired the stage as much as the Victorian theatre influenced Dickens. These continued until the end of his life. with the backs of the stages slightly higher than the fronts. appeared in April 1839. and upstage is the back of the stage. but the terminology stuck. his pulse skyrocketed. Childish? Perhaps. Downstage is the front of the stage. In Dickens. and all mixed the grotesque with the comic. which he missed. The incline was called a rake and helped those in the back of the audience see the action onstage. Dickens stayed close to his early love. It struggled to balance the private experience of novel reading with the theatre’s heritage of public entertainment. Eventually. puppet-mastered melodramas in a toy theatre. like A Noise Within. but the law restricted them to musical drama — especially the popular burletta. Deborah Vlock writes “the ‘drama’ was not supplanted by the novel in the nineteenth century. a Serio-Comic Burletta was one of ten adaptations presented before Dickens’s last chapter reached the public. still participate in the tradition of using raked stages. published serially in Bentley’s Miscellany. the Sultan of India. When Dickens first arrived in London. and the melodrama. and watching the audience’s response to public readings of his novels remained one of his chief delights. Even as his career turned to writing. revues. Dickens savored the theatre. only three theatres in the city possessed charters to produce legally five act comedies or tragedies.Oliver with a Twist by Sarah Ollove A scene from the London production. The Victorians could not wait to see how the story ends. he flirted with acting. citing illness. The concept of the burletta eventually expanded to include operettas. looked to theatrical conventions as models for their own work. closest to the audience. All these genres relied heavily on music to set the tone. landing that impossibility of all impossibilities — an audition at Covent Garden Theatre.
a mirror of life. Dickens also learned valuable lessons from another popular theatre of his day. Like the melodramas. pantomime does not allow characters words. Amazingly. No one recognized melodrama’s merits more than Dickens. the novelist had ample opportunity to change his novel based on the reception of the first parts. ladies might weep. not psychological motives dictate actions. If he laughed. Dickens avoids flat characters — a dangerous pratfall of archetypes. in as regular alternation. many novels appeared serially in newspapers prior to their completion. This was a priceless recognition for a novelist adept at both pathos and wit. pale woman. When the modern audience thinks about melodrama. and repeated tics. a fat father. Melodrama reigned as king of the Victorian Stage. Scenes of heightened tragedy alternated with low comedy. Around Dickens’s study hung mirrors angled towards his face so that the writer could watch his own reactions to his work. an undesirable suitor. No one envisions the following scene. the meddling father. but they are not so unnatural as they would seem at first sight. which makes a vast difference. to present the 1 7 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season tragic and the comic scenes. These stock characters act predictably from scene to scene and play to play. and so. in which the fat servant of the distressed woman gets his foot stuck in a pickle jar. as the layers of red and white in a side of streaky bacon.” Dickens believed in the line “All the world’s a stage. there. Dickens learned much from pantomime characters. heightening the impact of both. are not a whit less startling. images of a beautiful. Reading aloud was a common pastime in Victorian London. Dickens even changed the end of Great Expectations to please the public. and plenty of clownish henchmen. if a tear came to his eye. Most pantomimes silently acted the same familiar story of two lovers. a clever servant. But the absurdity of the humor throws the tragedy into sharp relief. the stage infuses every part of the novel’s form. a drawing room party might laugh. Like many other novelists of his day. Dickens enjoyed the pantomime. The English pantomime inherited its theatrical tradition from the harlequinade of the Italian commedia dell’arte. The external must convey all information. and from mourning weeds to holiday garments. Several pantomime characters became stock characters for Dickens — the ingénue. writing: “A pantomime is to us. where illiteracy ruled. until a good fairy enters and wins the day for love.” However. The Victorian Englishman has a reputation as repressed. This allowed an author to test the waters before completing a long work. the pantomime. only. the unwanted suitor. and music intensified emotions. instead of passive lookers-on. Oliver Twist remains remarkably devoid of references to the theatre. Dickens granted his characters the gift of speech. but his taste in entertainment was filled with emotion. Of course. One sees the influence of melodrama in many of the great nineteenth century novelists from Balzac to Dostoyevsky. not just as a private pastime.” Shakespeare really meant: all the world’s a pantomime. Even those characters that do not come directly from pantomime behave like pantomime characters. we are busy actors. Physical traits. Although the novels he wrote immediately before and after it have actors as important characters. Visual imagery and stage machinery often upstaged dialogue.The novel attempted to find a balance between the private experience of a reader and the idea of public entertainment. The father and suitor make so much trouble for the lovers that it seems impossible for them to marry. Dickens always captured accurately the ebullience and exhaustion of living. Like an actor adapting his performance based upon audience’s reactions. In addition. unlike the chime- . Such changes appear absurd. Dickens’s works read as if meant for a group. swooning in the arms of a handsome — also pale — gentleman come to mind. He only writes of it in one passage of Oliver Twist: “It is the custom on the stage. The transitions in real life from well-spread boards to death beds. in all good murderous melodramas. Dickens knew that melodrama followed the quick jumps in tone that occur in life.
amoral Jew. Dickens endowed the Jew in this novel. His characters are archetypes. He had no legal recourse to protect his work. When he wrote Oliver Twist. effectively curtailing his changes of rising in society. The novel influenced the theatre at a time when the theatre needed it. Davies to see what he has made of her criticism in his next novel. the rights of the novelist to own his work were shaky. except for Fagin. a far less just and a far less good tempered people than I have always supposed them to be. Dickens was hardly the first to take advantage of this stereotype for his villains. Edmund Wilson heralded Dickens as “the greatest dramatic writer the English had since Shakespeare. and liked it very much. In a culture in which everyone attended the theatre. An archetype of the seedy underbelly of Victorian England. Oliver Twist. Dickens breathed new life into a dying genre. He descended from a long line of Englishmen — including Marlowe and Shakespeare — who drew upon cultural stereotypes to create monstrous Jews who leered at innocent children. Perhaps as way of apology. Our Mutual Friend. with an almost superhuman goodness. he invites Mrs.” Later in the letter. but it was the only action he could take. Fagin exemplifies the pantomime traits of Dickens’s characters. Adapting novels for the stage was inevitable but fraught with difficulties. In the nineteenth century. they are a far less sensible. Adaptations at this time spurred an examination of intellectual property and copyright. Fagin also represents another stereotype — the greedy.“Young Philip joins a School of Crossing Sweepers” — a scene from Dickens’ London. As his career evolved. given such a valuable source of new material. rical pantomime lovers. the wife of a Jewish banker. nor should it. read Oliver Twist. so did the idea of the professional writer. a good adaptation launched a writer successfully towards respectability. not stereotypes. the exact opposite of Fagin. and Dickens’s keen understanding of dramatic form allowed him to make a major contribution. Riah. the novel soared to new heights while the theatre foundered.” At a time when dramatic writers in London had hit a dry spell. Dickens did not want people to mistake his characters for generalizations of ethnicity. Dickens might have overreacted to Almar’s burletta. The stage could not ignore the emergence of the novel. Dickens’s reply suggests he never considered that Fagin might be taken as a representation for a whole group of people and got defensive: “I must take leave to say that if there be any general feeling on the part of the intelligent Jewish people that I have done to them what you describe as a great wrong. A bad adaptation could end the career of a fledgling writer. She wrote a letter objecting to the characterization. both artistic and commercial. Though most of his characters were archetypes. Nancy Sikes and the other dramatis personae hover between realism and fantasy. In 1863. 1 8 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . a woman named Eliza Davies.
and props. Initially. burlesques were made satirizing both the material and the production history including “Oliver Twist.” Artistically Dickens worried that audiences. or Dickens up a Tree” and “Oliver Twisted. though he liked his own readings best. all of which took to the material as fast as the Victorians. despite the fact that no less of an authority than William Charles Macready — Covent Garden’s leading man — felt the material unsuitable for 1 9 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season dramatization. hoping to find fame as great villains including Sir Henry Irving. orphaned boys could pack a theatre faster than anything else in Victorian London. but Dickens relished the audience’s public reaction to his text. he might well have altered his endings based on what he saw. This ardor embraced good adaptations of his novels./ MXAT Institute. he might have refused to get up from the floor of the box. content with the ending offered by the adaptor. In a letter about an adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby. would not read the ending he wrote. film.” At one point. the role of Bill Sikes enticed countless actors. ❖ Sarah Ollove is a dramaturgy student at the A. Furthermore. sets. being but mortal. In the same letter. In the early twentieth century. and consequently lessen the afterinterest in their progress. Actors found the roles in Oliver Twist irresistible. Oliver and his comrades were popular characters in the toy theatre — in which the characters were made from mass produced sheets of paper and sold with paper proscenium. Dickens’s enthusiasm for the theatre never diminished. Dickens did rise.T. that being badly done and worse acted it tends to vulgarize the characters. sacrificing artistic merit for the crass success of star actor-managers. The role of Oliver passed from the hands of women to young men and boys.Dickens feared bad adaptations for more reasons than his social status. Actresses playing young. and the musical. Dickens had been granted the foresight to see what would happen to his novel. productions slavishly recreated tableau based upon original illustrations from the novel. If in 1838. Because Dickens often ended his novels after seeing several adaptations. commissioning sets from men who staked their reputations on exact replicas. Oliver Twist remained the most frequently dramatized throughout his life. Despite his reservations about losing control of his work. Most adaptations took the form of a burletta including the requisite number of songs — a tradition of staging the novel that led directly to Lionel Bart’s Oliver! However. he would never have stood so high. complicating his process enormously. he lists his concerns: “My general objection to the adaptation of any unfinished work of mine simply is. Without the example of the stage and without its help in spreading his popularity. The Victorians clearly disagreed. By 1870 at least 100 different Olivers had met nine dozen Artful Dodgers. However. and wrote some of the most beloved novels in English. Likewise. . he writes that “no objection can exist for a moment where the [adaptation] is so admirably done in every respect. he even suggested that he might undertake the task himself. Oliver Twist endured many shifts in theatrical taste. the burletta was not the only theatrical genre to use the story of the orphan boy. to destroy or weaken in the minds of those who see them the impressions I have endeavored to create. Many actresses made a career of it because the impoverished boy outlasted an actresses’s looks. He claimed that his novels had more power read aloud.R. This idea never panned out.” Throughout its long production history. Oliver Twist weathered method acting. These all but disappeared until the rise of film. he grew concerned that adaptors would cheapen his novels. Macready cited the breadth of scope in the novel as an insurmountable obstacle. Dickens owes not a little of his success to theatre. Though only Dickens’s second novel. radio.
” Here. This would have been hot water mixed with gin. also appearing as “cove” in reference to Mr. and perhaps a bit of cinnamon. who usually resells them. Fascinator Mr. or the like. exactly as in modern day hip-hop music. lemon. Covetous Inordinately or wrongly desirous of wealth or possessions. The word has a double meaning. Brownlow. Affablest Most affable: most pleasant and easy to talk to. extant means “in existence”.. worn as a head covering by women. Insatiable Not satiable. Magistrate A civil enforcer of the law – similar to a judge. narrowing toward the ends. incapable of being satisfied or appeased: insatiable hunger for knowledge. greedy. covetous. Charity-boy A boy who attends a charity-supported school. Bumble wishes to sell Oliver and indicates by using the phrase “liberal terms” that he is open to negotiations about price. which is boiled in either water or milk. Avaricious often implies a pathological. meaning that he is brand new to the pick-pocketing world and thus entirely uneducated about it. Green Charley refers to Oliver as “green”. 2 0 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . which contains carbonated water. Bumble’s pet name for Mrs. driven greediness for money or other valuables and usually suggests a concomitant miserliness. Avaricious Avaricious.Vocabulary from Oliver Twist Extant Dodger refers to the play as “. Corney – perhaps he simply means that she fascinates him. Crib Slang used during Dickens’ time referred to a house as a “crib”. rapacious share the sense of desiring to possess more of something than one already has or might in normal circumstances be entitled to. Gruel A thin porridge cereal. Liberal terms Mr. Fence A receiver of stolen goods. greedy. Covey “Man” or “friend”. lace.the most concise and faithful specimen of dramatic biography extant. Taken as a nightcap before bedtime. Hot gin and water A drink introduced by the British East India Trading company – related to the modern gin and tonic. as it also referred to a scarf of crochet work. usually oatmeal.
Morrice Figurative command to hurry up. lover. gallows on Monday Fagin recites a 19th century nursery rhyme written in 1842 by James Orchard HalliwellPhillipps about the life of Solomon Grundy. esp. would announce the production of a crowd favorite: Macbeth.” Procure To get — or obtain by purchasing. Solomon Grunday. and second childhood. a company would realize it was not going to break even. from where a balustrade of the old kitchen staircase had been broken away. The term “seven ages of man” is derived from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. for the light of a feeble candle gleamed on the wall at the remote end of the passage. This seemed to be some watchword or signal that all was right. in an attempt to boost ticket sales. considered in ancient and medieval medicine to cause gloominess and depression. tried on Friday. It is from “morrice. “Now. Parochial Prentiss An apprentice to the parish. soldier. the play would frequently be a portent of the company’s demise. tonight is Sunday. Togs Clothes Workhus This mean-spirited nickname comes from contracting the two words “work” and “house”. near the end of a season. Frequently. The poem is a riddle — and appears to take place in the process of a single week. Corney refers to Oliver as an “owdacious young savage”. referring to his status as a lowly workhouse orphan. then!’ cried a voice from below. pantaloon. Scarpering To scarper is to flee or depart suddenly. Old actors believe the witches’ song in Macbeth to possess the uncanny power of casting evil spells. schoolboy. Owdacious Mrs. which would struggle to remain in business. in reply to a whistle from the Dodger.Melancholy Refers to one of the four humours — melancholy is the condition of having too much black bile. as Oliver Twist is in the beginning of the play. Peach To tattle on someone is to “peach” on them. Noah uses this name for Oliver.” a variant spelling of “morris. Traps Policemen. and are defined as: infant. without having paid one’s bills. Theatre Lore Why is it bad luck to say “Macbeth” inside the theatre? There are many origins for this superstition. Pentonville A pleasant middle to upper-class suburb of northwest London. In 2 1 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season the poem. justice. The reasons for this fear usually bring tales of accidents and ill-fortunes that have plagued productions of the play throughout the world. each day’s events represent the seven ages of man. . Plummy and slam This term is an underworld slang phrase used by thieves to communicate that the coast was clear. and a man’s face peeped out.” a type of lively dance in England. One can only conclude that she means “audacious” – which is defined as “recklessly brave or daring”. ‘Plummy and slam!’ was the reply. Bumble uses this phrase to indicate the red lash marks that result from a whipping and the accompanying bruises. Stripes and Bruises Mr. An alternative is that the superstition began in the days of stock companies. If times were particularly bad. and.
and his open hostility towards political foes of Britain including Ireland and China. I want some more. Cruikshank personified Britain in the recurring cartoon character John Bull — whom he developed with assistance from James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson. Because of the accelerated pace of the adaptation. It is a menacing. and placed him at the center of many noted controversies. and filthy working conditions that the workhouse inhabitants would endure in Dickensian England. the design needed to allow the action to move 2 2 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season .February 1. Boetcher’s major design influences were tied closely to the industrial revolution: “Early in the design process my research focused on the British workhouses that thrived in England from as early as the 1600’s all the way through the 1800’s. Cruikshank’s lampoons of the monarchy were so infamous that in 1820. designer Kurt Boetcher considered influential artists from the period before and during the time of Dickens. Born into a family of noted caricaturists and artists. 1837 In creating the scenic design for Oliver Twist. The harshness of the steel. I was drawn to the industrial architecture and materials of the period. Cruikshank’s father was Scottish painter Isaac Cruikshank.” Illustration by George Cruikshank. Cruikshank was supposed to have received a bribe from the royal family of George III of 100 pounds for his pledge “not to caricature His Majesty in any immoral situation”. dimly lit and full of shadows. two other wellknown British satirical artists. and was published frequently in popular publications such as The Comic Almanack and Omnibus. his lampooning of the British monarchy. sir. in terms of his personification of the nation.VISUAL ARTS: Creating the World of Oliver Twist George Cruikshank (September 27. I also found some research into Pollock’s toy theatres to be interesting. including the original etchings of George Cruikshank that appeared in the first published editions of Oliver Twist. Cruikshank was renowned for his social and political caricatures of English life. Both John Bull and Uncle Sam cartoons were used to gather support for military recruitment to varying degrees of success. scary. 1792 . His career spanned 60 years. 1878) is a noted illustrator and caricaturist who was commissioned to produce a series of depictions for the first publication of Oliver Twist. but his status as a lowly yeoman (rather than political figure) and preference for beer and simple pleasures draw him in stark contrast. heavy beams. John Bull can be somewhat compared to Uncle Sam in the U.” Boetcher and Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott worked to remain true to the original novel and its depiction of the nightmarish existence of Oliver as he searches desperately for a family. Among these were his claim to have guided plot elements and the development of Oliver Twist himself. The simple and spare images depict a lonely world. I also found visual inspiration in some of the etchings and lithographs from the 1800’s. harsh world — like the nightmare of a child who suffers every imaginable cruelty. The world of Oliver Twist is an inherently theatrical one. The textures and colors of these environments heavily influenced the design and color palette of this production. concrete.S. “Please.
According to Boetcher. making the audience very often aware of that fact as actors transform right before their eyes. on-line resources. posters. women play men. military vehicles.3.seamlessly from location to location. The lighting instruments that live on the set are a fusion of a Victorian period street 2 3 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season lamp. The work may use Uncle Sam as outside observer. 4. John Bull World War I Recruiting Poster. For example. the set design is unmasked.. We further enhanced this mood with extreme lighting angles and sharp shadows cast through the skeletal scenic elements. Uncle Sam collage: Gather representations of Uncle Sam in political cartoons. noting the ways in which the current social. represent a modern view of childhood. and a traditional theater ghost light. Aesthetic Valuing 4. The floor treatment is taken from the industrial harshness and cruelty of the workhouses. 2. where we see a backstage area with all the trappings — ghost lights. The adaptation is by design very theatrical. men play women. There are also certain Victorian references that combined with the objects giving us a sense of time and place. putting on a wig. changing costumes etc. and tonal and textural opposites. or environmental conservation. We wanted to audience to be constantly reminded that they are in a theater watching a group of actors putting on a show. ladders. Historical and Cultural Context 3. For this reason. and current political campaign materials. and Bartlett takes it a step further by having the actors play multiple roles and create the world of the play in collusion with the audience. Ask students to create a collage which incorporate a single point of view about a current social or cultural issue as it relates to the figure of Uncle Sam. It does not shy away from the cruelty that Oliver Twist endures. 2. . but at the end of the play Oliver is safe at last.” Oliver’s world is uncertain — the sole element of consistency comes from his innocence and purity. postcards. actor-driven soundscapes and a cappella singing. 3.4.2. and political contexts influenced their interpretation of the iconic figure of Uncle Sam. follow spots. There is hope. economic. As a group. footlights. we wanted to expose as much of the ‘behind the scenes’ activity as we could — having the actors perform the simple scene changes in front of the audience while others change costumes and get into character. show curtain. painted by James Montgomery Flagg 1916-17. 2.0. Reinforcing this concept is the design. Encourage students to use irony in their work by featuring the juxtaposition of polarized themes. 4.5. newspapers. to them. All roles are played by adults — adults play children. According to RodriguezElliott. a student may choose to depict Uncle Sam as related to social issues of violence in schools. The design for Oliver Twist draws upon the work of caricaturist George Cruikshank who depicted political figures and the plight of children during the industrial revolution. ask students to share their artwork and articulate their perspective to the class. In enhancing this idea.0.. “The production stresses the actor-driven. The episodic nature of the text leads to abrupt shifts and leaps of dramatic tone — from comedy to horror to satire to sentimentality.” Suggested Activities 1. Have students produce a series of small caricatures based on real-life subjects that. and 3-dimensional items like lapel pins or clothing.0. It pushes the idea that we are in a theatre and these are actors. Incorporate American iconic images such as flags. all while the audience watches. complementary colors. photographic material of the U. providing commentary about an issue that is of personal concern for the student. Uncle Sam recruiting poster. and its people.1-3. “We chose to remove all of the masking and curtains from the stage so that the world of the play would feel strangely spare and a bit unsettling. contrasting color values.S. rehearsal furniture and ropes — and the objects transform to serve the various locations throughout the play. teen pregnancy. ❖ CA VISUAL ARTS STANDARDS: Grades 9-12 Proficient: Creative Expression 2. page-turning drama of the piece. The production stresses the shifts of tone in a rather bold and dramatic way using music. 1915.
music plays the role of directing the emotions of the viewer. lighting design. The Kennedy Center. Some of the music is sung.” We are also using a solo violinist in the room to help set the mood of many of the moments in the show. the music pulls elements from a Victorian aesthetic to create a stark texture of melody and percussive sound. sentimental melodies.A. and musical director whose work has been featured at Walt Disney Concert Hall. and Dadme. clocks ticking). Elements. performer. and Atalanta (based on the story from “Free to Be You and Me”). The Legend of Alex (Center Theatre Group’s P.Y. on traditional percussion instruments as well as non-traditional “found objects. His concert compositions include the critically-acclaimed A Map of Los Angeles (commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale). third. as well as other venues in Los Angeles and around the world. and costumes. These decisions took into account the way the actors move onstage and relate to the audience: In my early meetings with the Director. I am using three major elements: first. as opposed to recorded music cues that are played back. clock tower bells). produced by the LA Philharmonic. Throughout Neil Bartlett’s adaptation. music is in the background helping the viewer to emotionally interpret the images in front of them. and some takes the form of percussive sounds.L. jarring in the transition from one to another. and the West Coast premieres of Michael John LaChiusa’s The Wild Party and Little Fish.” with the live actors in the piece creating much of the music and sound live in the theater. In creating the percussive score for the actors to play. sometimes several times within a scene.The Music of Oliver Twist Featuring Composer David O David O is a composer. His original musicals for families include Imagine (South Coast Rep). The Mark Taper Forum. the action of the play shifts immediately from traditional theater to direct audience address to choral speaking to tableau to song. the music will emotionally reflect what is going on inside the characters’ minds. the sounds of bells (workhouse bells. The music will also mirror the world of the play as conveyed by the sets. accentuated by Victorian details: The music lives in a similar world. Whether the medium is film. second. In most forms of entertainment. ACTIVITIES 2 4 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . David O made crucial decisions that guided the music for Oliver Twist. costumes. such as those created for early radio dramas). My melodic influences for the sung music and the violin parts include traditional English folk tunes and hymns. The visual design of the play involves a stark theatricality. wind chimes. Many Los Angeles children and their parents know David as “The Professor” for his performances in Summersounds at the Hollywood Bowl. Other compositions for the theatre include his award-winning scores for Hippolytos and Ubu Roi (at A Noise Within). My influences for the percussion instruments include the work of 20th Century composers such as John Cage and Frank Zappa. In working with Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott. In Oliver Twist. theater or video games. to accentuate these unexpected theatrical turns. In many instances. program). the sounds of wood (empty bowls. Composer David O describes the overarching artistic vision that guided his process for creating the music for the play: The score for Oliver Twist is special to me in that it is almost entirely “actor-driven. played by the actors. and environment of Oliver Twist also influenced David O’s compositions. and the Hollywood Bowl. coffins. in moments when Oliver is in the abusive grasp of Fagin and his street gang. His credits as Musical Director include the world premieres of Toy Story: The Musical and Jason Robert Brown’s 13. whistling (the secret calls of Fagin’s gang in the streets). The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip. The sets. we are using music to add irony to the performance — for example. While not specifically Victorian. as if to suggest he is instead in the loving embrace of a family. props. We decided early on that the music should likewise include many disparate elements. knocking on doors. as well as the tradition of “foley” sound effects (live sound effects. we discussed the importance of using music to accentuate the harshness of Dickens’ story. the violin may be playing sweet.
Gather together trash cans. they whoop and scream with joy. middle. The Salley Gardens: Down by the Salley gardens my love and I did meet. Oliver asks for more at the Orphanage 2. Oliver’s true identity is discovered ❖ 2 5 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . Found Object Symphony: Using the idea of foley. She passed the Salley gardens with little snow-white feet. Even when that something is but one wretched breathless boy. plastic bottles half-filled with water. As he pants with exhaustion. And as his strength decreases. sheets of plastic transparencies. ask students to craft their pieces to cleave to the general outline of Oliver Twist as follows: 1. She bid me take love easy. and anything that makes an interesting sound. A. In a field by the river my love and I did stand. as the leaves grow on the tree. they chase him without rest. For a more advanced Found Object Symphony. But I being young and foolish. and the crowd gains upon him.Analyze and Respond Critically: Compare the text from the English Folk tune The Sally Gardens to the text from Oliver Twist. But I was young and foolish. paper. And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand. with her would not agree. Have each student (or a group of students working together. Oliver attempts his first robbery with Fagin’s gang 4. pencils. Oliver gets locked in the coffin 3. and now am full of tears. Oliver is taken to Brownlow’s 5. cardboard boxes. She bid me take life easy. as the grass grows on the weirs.) compose a “Found Object Symphony” using their classmates to play the objects they select as they conduct. Make sure each piece has a beginning. How does the language of each song convey the mood of the piece? Each song takes the listener on a journey of sorts — what similarities do you see between where each song begins and where it ends? Does the main subject of each song start and end in a similar place? What differences do you observe? From Oliver Twist: There is a passion for hunting something deeply implanted in the human breast. have students design a score for their own mini-version of Oliver Twist using found objects and sounds they can make using their body as an instrument. B. and end.
Deane. Youth. 2001. 1997 Student Resource Center. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1997. Student Resource Center. Victorian Web. Beard.Bibliography/Resources “The Industrial Revolution. 2001. The Hummingbird House. 1999. Patricia. http://www. (Source on-line.victorianweb. November 8. 1975.org/.com/Exhibit/article_cameron1.hbook. Mich. 1965. Student Resource Center. Bloy. Eleanor. <http://www. html. 2001.org/wiki/Plato>.nus. 2nd ed. Marjorie. Boston: Pearson Education. 1997. Plato. Mich. Princeton: Princeton UP. New Woman New Earth: Sexist Ideologies and Human Liberation. November 8. New York. 2 November 2006. 25 August 2003. McLuhan. A resource website written and edited by George P. Deconstructing the Hero: Literary Theory and Children’s Literature.html. “Industrial Revolution (excerpt). Wikipedia.: Gale Group. New York: Routledge. Rosemary Radford. The Horn Book Virtual History Exhibit. Creative Drama in the Classroom and Beyond. Joseph. 1997. 1972. Hero With a Thousand Faces. Framington Hills. 2006. Professor of English and Art History at Brown University. Online Database November 8. Margery. 1700-1900. Hard Times.sg/landow/ victorian/history/cornlaws1. Farmington Hills.: Gale Group. David.scholars. Nellie. Landow. New York: Seabury Press. Online Database.” DISCovering World History.A. 24 October 2006 <http://en. McCaslin. Mich.” DISCovering U. 1966.edu. Cameron. 1880-1899. (Source on-line. Hourihan.” DISCovering World History. 2 6 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . http://www. and Literature. Phyllis.S.html>.: Gale Group. History. Washington: Frederick A Praeger.) Campbell. The Corn Laws.com/index. Perdue. David Purdue’s Charles Dickens page. http://charlesdickenspage. C. Henly. Pike. “Factory Working Conditions in the Late 1800s.) Reuther. 8th Ed.wikipedia. The Victorian Web. The First Industrial Revolution. Denver: McMurray and Beck. Online Database. Royston.org. Framington Hills. Part I.
character: The personality or part portrayed by an actor on stage. dramatic irony: A dramatic technique used by a writer in which a character is unaware of something the audience knows. you will have the opportunity to discuss the play’s content and style with the performing artists and directors. It can also refer to forms that are more specific to a given historical era.and post-performance discussions at A Noise Within. Sometimes the props are actual. After A Noise Within’s performance of Oliver Twist. “kind” or “type. set: The physical world created on stage in which the action of the play takes place. or to more specific sub-genres of tragedy and comedy such as the comedy of manners. movies and television take audiences away from what was once the number one form of entertainment: going to the theatre.About Theatre Arts Theatre Vocabulary Being an Audience Member Today. Actors often look for their “motivation” when they try to dissect how a character thinks or acts. props: Items carried on stage by an actor to represent objects mentioned in or implied by the script. Stage left is the actor’s left as he faces the audience. In a theatre. especially at an intimate venue like A Noise Within.” In literary terms. The audience views the play from the front through a “frame” called the proscenium arch. It may include the historical period as well as the physical space. In this scenario. hear. These terms will be included in pre. blocking: The instructions a director gives his actors that tell them how and where to move in relation to each other or to the set in a particular scene. audience members see the play from varying viewpoints. theme: The overarching message or main idea of a literary or dramatic work. proscenium stage: There is usually a front curtain on a proscenium stage. such as the revenge tragedy. all audience members have the same view of the actors. A recurring idea in a play or story. Stage right is the actor’s right as he faces the audience. observers are catapulted into the action. In this scenario. motivation: The situation or mood which initiates an action. today participating in the performance by giving respect and attention to the actors is the most appropriate behavior at a theatrical performance. But attending a live performance is still one of the most thrilling and active forms of spending time. stage areas: The stage is divided into areas to help the director to note where action will take place. whose thrust stage reaches out into the audience and whose actors can see. and feel the response of the crowd. 2 7 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season . A Noise Within features a thrust stage. Shouting out or even whispering can be heard throughout the auditorium. setting: The environment in which a play takes place. genre: Literally. sometimes they are manufactured in the theatre shop. thrust stage: A stage that juts out into the audience seating area so that patrons are seated on three sides. Downstage is the area closest to the audience. Upstage is the area furthest from the audience. Center stage defines the middle of the playing space. genre refers to the main types of literary form. as can rustling paper or ringing phones. You may wish to remind students to observe the performance carefully or to compile questions ahead of time so they are prepared to participate in the discussion. principally comedy and tragedy. conflict: The opposition of people or forces which causes the play’s rising action. farce or social drama. Although in the past playhouses could sometimes be rowdy.
More than 25. All of A Noise Within’s resident artists have been classically trained. such as Juilliard. Glendale.org Box Office: 818. classical productions and education in Southern California and sought out and assembled their own company of actors to meet the need.0910 / FAX 818. in-depth discussion of A Noise Within’s artistic interpretation of the work.About A Noise Within A Noise Within’s mission is to produce the great works of world drama in rotating repertory. A Noise Within accepted an invitation to collaborate with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a tandem performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl. English Language.1 Compiled and Written by Samantha Starr Production Photography by Craig Schwartz Graphic Design by Christopher Komuro 2 8 A Noise Within 2008/2009 Repertory Season California’s Home for the Classics . historical context. Study guides are available at no extra cost to download through our website: www.anoisewithin. Artistic Directors Administrative Office: 234 S.anoisewithin. as well as discussion points and suggested classroom activities.trained actors. and Euripides. All of the information and activities outlined in these guides are designed to work in compliance with Visual and Performing Arts. interviews with directors and designers.0910 ext. Ibsen. Molière. with a company of professional. In 2004. As the only company in southern California working in the repertory tradition (rotating productions using a resident ensemble of professional. In its fourteen-year history. Yale.000 student participants to its arts education programs every year. discussions with artists. Shaw. A Noise Within is dedicated solely to producing classical literature from authors such as Shakespeare. and between performances at the theatre and touring productions. Study guides include background information on the plays and playwrights. conservatory training. CA 91204 Administration: Tel 818. Brand Blvd. both of whom were classically trained at the acclaimed American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. annually. Guides from past seasons are also available to download from the website. and an internship program.240. org. Study Guides A Noise Within creates California standards-compliant study guides to help educators prepare their students for their visit to our theatre. classically. The company was formed in 1991 by founders Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott. and other subject standards as set forth by the state of California. textual analysis.0826 Website: www. as well as subsidized tickets to matinee and evening performances.. trained artists). and state standardscompliant study guides.240. A Noise Within has garnered over 500 awards and commendations.000 individuals attend productions at A Noise Within. A Noise Within educates the public through comprehensive outreach efforts and conservatory training programs that foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of history’s greatest plays and playwrights. and the American Conservatory Theatre. Students benefit from in-school workshops. and many hold Master of Fine Arts degrees from some of the nation’s most respected institutions. California’s Home for the Classics California’s Home for the Classics Geoff Elliott & Julia Rodriguez-Elliott.240. They envisioned A Noise Within after recognizing a lack of professional. the company draws 13. including the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle’s revered Polly Warfield Award for Excellence and the coveted Margaret Hartford Award for Sustained Excellence.
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