The “Eyre Affair” by Jasper Fforde is a New York Times bestselling novel in which a literary detective seeks to stop a master criminal in a parallel universe. The play is set to come to Valparaiso University theatre with new scenes, characters and plot twists. The individuals living in this alternate universe use literature as the gateway to places people want to go.
Director Austin Tichenor brings this novel to life in his very own stage adaptation. Literary detective Thursday Next is on a mission to find a literary kidnapper to stop them from committing homicides in various novels to prevent history from changing drastically.
While a few scenes are a direct adaptation from the novel, the majority of them have been remastered by Tichenor, creating a unique experience for Valpo’s Department of Theatre. Many of the characters that will be presented are popular literary figures people will be familiar with.
Jane Eyre, played by Natalia Terzic, is one of the main characters who gets kidnapped from her novel, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë. Terzic will additionally play eight other minor characters throughout the performance, a common theme for each actor in the show.
“When I switch characters, I take a second to shake off the first character’s personality before I go out and play the next one,” Terzic said. “One of my characters easily fly’s off the handle and is a very ‘adult popular cheerleader’ type, and then my main character Jane is the complete opposite. When I feel the strong distinction between characters, I know I’m doing something right.”
Each character has a strong level of uniqueness and a prominent personality. The cast and crew have been practicing different patterns of speech, quirks, walking and costuming for the past couple of months.
The show itself is set to be cinematic, with more than 150 changes in sound and lighting. Mary Atchley is responsible for the lighting on the set of “Eyre Affair” and Chris Gierymski is responsible for the sound.
“They’ve done incredible things,” Terzic said. “The multi levels of lighting and sound add to the show and make it unique.”
For director Austin Tichenor, this is his first stint at Valparaiso University.
“Usually the director is a Valpo professor who has always been doing college theatre and they have a very set structure,” Terzic said. “This is not a bad thing, but Tichenor really gives us a new perspective on the performance art.
“He has such a clear direction of what he wants certain characters to act. He gives a lot of insight since he wrote the parts of the script himself.”
The “Eyre Affair” performances are being held over the duration of two weekends beginning Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., April 8 at 8 p.m. and April 9-10 at 2 p.m. in the Studio Theatre.
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