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Näytelmäkirjailija Jo Clifford on ylpeä Humisevasta harjusta (in English)

4.2.2021

Jo Clifford. Kuva: Hannah Houston

Näytelmäkirjailija Jo Clifford. Kuva: Hannah Houston

Skotlantilainen Jo Clifford (s. 1951) on palkittu näytelmäkirjailija, kääntäjä, esiintyjä, runoilija ja opettaja. Hän on kirjoittanut yli 100 näytelmää, joita on esitetty ympäri maailman. Jo uransa alkuvaiheessa Clifford julisti näytelmiensä olevan kapinahenkisiä ja näkee ne sellaisina edelleen. Hänen tarinoidensa näkökulmahenkilönä on nainen. 

Jo Clifford’n dramatisoima Emily Brontën Humiseva harju ensiesitettiin vuonna 1995. Clifford iloitsee näytelmän tulosta Seinäjoen kaupunginteatterin suurelle näyttämölle ja kertoo alla englanniksi, mitä ensialkuun ajatteli koko tarinasta. Cliffordin kirjoituksen suomenkielinen versio julkaistaan tuonnempana.  

I am so excited Seinäjoen kaupunginteatteri is doing my play! We can hardly begin to dream of public performances in our country… So all my friends and colleagues are so excited to hear of your production, and it is giving us hope. It means a lot to me anyway, because this is one of my plays that disappeared, somehow, after its first performances in 1995. And I’m proud of it.

The novel was adapted to a play because of

Money!

My career was at a low ebb around that time (1995). For various reasons, I could not get original plays performed. A theatre in the Scottish Highlands called Pitlochry commissioned me to adapt novels for them. They wanted a version of Wuthering Heights for their 1995 season, so that’s why I wrote it.

Wuthering Heights was not important to me earlier

I never read it when I was younger; and in 1987 a theatre company suggested it as a possible book to dramatise, and I tried to read it and DETESTED it and so turned it down (I did Great Expectations instead).

When I adapt a book, I try to become all the characters in my imagination and feel what they are feeling; and also to become the actors playing their parts, because these are human beings that belong to the stage.

So what I feel for and with them is the most important thing.

We think of the Brontë sisters as being very romantic figures in a wild landscape, removed somehow from the rest of the world; but I can remember being very struck by the fact that they, too, were affected by the Industrial Revolution, and the suffering and upheavals it brought in its wake.

This struck a chord with me, because we, too, are living through all the upheavals and changes brought about by the internet/computer revolution we are living through.

I read the play again yesterday, and was struck by how angry and cruel it is. And how passionate!
And how long the script is!

When I adapt a novel, I usually miss a lot out – you have to! When I did Great Expectations and Anna Karenina I left out so much… 

But I must have been very moved by this book because I kept so much in…

The versions I’ve seen of the play are just mine

It is very rarely staged. I think because it is so very hard to adapt.

The play that disappeared somehow
There is a very high turnover of plays in my country. Generally, a play is rehearsed for 3-4 weeks, opens before it’s really ready, runs for maybe a month and then, when it really is in good shape and is ready… that is exactly the moment it disappears and is never seen again.

It makes me very frustrated!

In the 1990’s it was also almost impossible to get plays published.

And then the only way to make a living as a playwright – the money is generally so bad! – is to write a lot of plays. Which is what I did – 104 scripts!

And that means that once a play is written and performed, I tend to forget about them…. I certainly forgot about this one…

It’s true! I’ve done and gone through a lot

I’ve been a yoga teacher, a nurse, a bus conductor, a journalist and a university professor – as well as being a writer and now (after 50+years of thinking it impossible) a performer… I am also a proud father and grandmother.

Life is good… and all the better for having you perform my Wuthering Heights!

We are all amazed here that this is happening and you have been able to rehearse. Everything is shut down here – no rehearsals are allowed and no performances. We are all having to learn to make work online.

I hope we manage to meet and that I get to see the play!

Love and best wishes 
Jo xxx

Lisää Jo Cliffordista löydät näiltä verkkosivuilta: 

teatromundo.com

queenjesusproductions.com

 

 

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