. . .“There was a wild and ghastly scenery all around her, and a home and comfort nowhere.” . . .
Most of us were required to read The Scarlet Letter in school, I know I did, and we can all agree that we probably didn’t fully understand or appreciate the many messages and morals intertwined throughout the novel. The Scarlet Letter is an 1850 classic romantic work of fiction written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and is considered to be his magnum opus.
The story is set in 17th-century Puritan Boston during the mid 1640s and tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an adulterous affair yet refuses to break under others’ judgement and remains stalwart. Hester strives to create a life for her and her daughter, Pearl, of repentance and dignity. The Scarlet Letter is being presented by The University of Texas Department of Theatre and Dance, adapted by Sarah Saltwick and directed by Steven Wilson.
Sarah is a playwright and fiction Michener Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin. One of Sarah’s intentions in her adaptation of the novel into a performance is to build a “renewed sense of interest in the novel” so it does not appear to be so “boring.” Sarah is really onto something here. The novel certainly delves into some timeless situations and dilemmas that people do indeed continue to face today, however our society now compared to the 1640s is extremely different. Sarah takes those same traditional issues and adds a twist of the present to spice up the initial story and build more curiosity and intrigue audiences of today.
Director Steven Wilson makes note that the actors in the play are undergraduates at the university and their energy and youthfulness is embraced and he really wants to “push it to the surface” of the performance.
Young Cara Spradling plays the part of Pearl and claims her favorite thing about portraying this character is that she gets to have fun and play, “jump, skip and twirl” and Cara thinks she is a lot like Pearl.
This interpretation of The Scarlet Letter promises to be entertaining and will add a more modern and creative revolution to and old classic.
November 16, 17, 29, 30 at 8 p.m.
December 1, 5, 6, 7, at 8 p.m.
November 18 and December 2 at 2 p.m.
Audience members are invited to a post performance discussion surrounding the Department of Theatre and Dance’s production of The Scarlet Letter. Join the playwright, director, and members of the cast, and explore the process of bringing this cherished novel to the stage in Sarah Saltwick’s new adaptation.
November 18 at 3:45 p.m., immediately following the performance.
December 2 at 3:45 p.m., immediately following the performance.
B. Iden Payne Theatre
Winship Drama Building
300 East 23rd Street
Austin, TX 78712
Purchase tickets here.