Spring musical ‘Jane Eyre’ a hit on campus

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Sophomore Nate Jackson as St. John and Senior Katy Nichols as Jane chat during a scene in “Jane Eyre.” (Photo by Peter Metzger)
Sophomore Nate Jackson as St. John and Senior Katy Nichols as Jane chat during a scene in “Jane Eyre.” (Photo by Peter Metzger)

The spring musical "Jane Eyre" showed five times this last weekend. It opened Thursday morning and was on stage through Saturday night. Significant effort went into making a huge production like this possible.

Bethel’s dressing rooms were full of makeup, costumes, wigs and top hats. In the wings of the Earl Reimer stage, there was barely room to get past all of the props. The stage was busy with people checking lights, working on the set and running gaff tape. It was the busy week before the production, but smiles and laughter abound as the cast and crew of the spring musical prepared.

Jane Eyre is a young orphan who had a rough childhood. She is raised by Mrs. Reed, her cruel and wealthy aunt. A servant named Bessie provides Eyre the few kindnesses she receives, telling her stories and singing songs to her. Eyre goes to school and learns to be a teacher, but after teaching for two years she yearns for new experiences. She accepts a governess position at a manor called Thornfield, where she teaches a lively French girl named Adèle. Her employer at Thornfield is a dark, impassioned man named Rochester, with whom Jane finds herself falling secretly in love. She sinks into despondency when Rochester brings home a beautiful but vicious woman named Blanche Ingram. Jane expects Rochester to propose to Blanche, but there is a secret in his past that could keep a marriage from occurring,

Last weekend the theatre department gave the opportunity for people to see this story as a musical. Junior Bea Eisenhour, worked as stage manager and on costumes for the show, said "it’s a good show because it has good themes." Musical director Derrick Pennix said that love and forgiveness rise "even under the most adverse conditions."

"The music is sweeping and passionate and is present in nearly every moment of the show." Pennix said.

"There isn’t a page in the script on which there isn’t singing of some length," Eisenhour said.

Sophomore Nate Jackson said the schedules of the involved students are hectic, running from morning to late nights, but he "wouldn’t trade this life for anything."

For Senior Alex Cox, "this is the first show in which [he has] had to learn two roles."

Actors really tried to connect to their characters. Cox and Jackson each have two characters to get into. The two men are playing both Rochester and St. John.

"This forced me to approach two mindsets from the vantage point of one," said Cox. "I found the experience to be exciting and challenging, and I enjoyed [it]."

"We have two actors on [these roles] because Rochester never stops talking or singing," Eisenhour said. "Anytime he’s on stage, he’s moving his mouth."

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