Books, Like Theatre, Show Path Toward Goodness and Truth

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on January 31, 2014

After I saw Joe Wright’s film adaptation of Anna Karenina with Keira Knightly, I was blown away by it, just as I had been when I first saw Greta Garbo in the title role.

I liked the Wright/Knightly version so much that I wanted to know more about Tolstoy’s people, not just Anna and Vronsky. So I read all 900-plus pages and found there was so much more there than any adaptation had ever touched on. If I could, I would make a film of all the things left out of the book.

When we decided to undertake a production of Les Miserables, I knew I needed to know more about this Victor Hugo classic than just what was offered by the musical or the movies. I had seen all the film adaptations over the years. (Ted Turner played them all one day last summer, one after the other.) So I undertook the task of putting all 1,400-plus pages of Victor Hugo under my belt.

Mr. Hugo was my constant companion through the summer; Hugo and I went to bed together each night. At the end, I cried when Jean Valjean died, and I copied in my journal what Victor Hugo had someone write in pencil on his unmarked tombstone (it must have been Marius):

“He is asleep. Though his mettle was sorely tried.
He lived, and when he lost his angel, died.
It happened calmly, on its own,
The way night comes when day is done.”

Then it was on to The Hunchback of Notre Dame — fewer pages that, but again more plot twists and turns than was ever shown in any film adaptation. I dreaded turning the final pages; I was sad to see Esmeralda and Quasimodo’s story end.

Local author Beverly Fisher’s book, Grace Among the Leavings, was so enthralling that I could not put it down. I did not go to bed with Beverly, as I had with Leo and Hugo; I read her straight through in one sitting, with real life squeezed in between.

Beverly is having a book signing at Barnes & Noble in Cool Springs today from 6pm to 8pm. Grace Among the Leavings is available at Ft. Defiance, the Customs House Museum, the Trading Post, Sango Pharmacy, Lovin’ Spoonful and Amazon.

Somewhere deep in my soul I know that the path toward goodness and truth lies in books. I’m certain the love of words and literature can maybe not solve the world’s problems, but certainly help. That’s what theatre does; it points the way and holds a mirror up to nature, showing us how problems were solved, and shares with us the divine in the human spirit.

Our 12th annual installment of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, with Adriane Wiley-Hatfield, Michelle Foletta and Leslie Greene, plays its final performances tonight and Saturday at 8pm.

Hans Christian Andersen takes the stage for two more Saturday matinees, tomorrow and February 8, at 2pm.

Now on to War and Peace.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

Previous post:

Next post: