Whether they loved the comic romantic novel of 1908, were enchanted by the lavish, Oscar-winning film of 1986, or think Edwardian romance is sorely missing since the conclusion of “Downton Abbey,” audiences will be transported by the Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s production of “A Room with a View,” opening Friday, April 27, and running through Sunday, May 13.
Based on the acclaimed novel by E.M. Forster, “A Room with a View” has been adapted for the stage by Christina Calvit, who faithfully captures the charm and humor of the classic novel while throwing in plenty of creative stagecraft of her own.
We meet Lucy Honeychurch, a proper but willful young Englishwoman who is on a trip to Italy with her older cousin and chaperone Charlotte when she meets the free-spirited, brooding and socially unacceptable George Emerson. As their stay progresses, George feels that Italian life is opening his eyes to what is important in life, and he feels the same is happening to Lucy. They share a passionate kiss, but meddlesome Charlotte crushes the affair.
Back in England, Lucy becomes engaged to the more acceptable, priggish Cecil Vyse, which seems to seal her fate. Yet, a series of coincidences brings George into Lucy’s social circle once again. Will she choose courage, truth and love over convention? While the play exudes intelligence and radiates humor, it’s a captivating story about the consequences and rewards of being true to one’s real nature.
Inspired by Calvit’s inventive adaptation, director Scott Dunlap and scenic designer Sarah Miecielica have created a fanciful world in which the story takes place. An ensemble cast of 11 actors play 22 different characters. Props and set pieces rise and fall from the ceiling, mirroring the indecision and inner life of Lucy. Lighting captures characters in silhouette, and light projections keep the audience in step with where and when the action takes place. The show is rated PG due to brief male nudity – a comic moment of streaking – on stage.
The strong ensemble of stage veterans and Theatre Centre newcomers includes Alexandra Feliciano Aponte (Minnie Beebe), Jeremy Campbell (George Emerson), John Echols (Mr. Emerson), Josh Garcia (Cecil Vyse), Denise Hardee (Mrs. Honeychurch), Garrett Henson-Hinck (Freddy Honeychurch), Jeff Hill (Reverend Beebe), Gwynne Noel Jones (Lucy Honeychurch), Stefanie Oppenheimer (Eleanor Lavish), Julie Van Valkenburg (Charlotte Bartlett) and Rodney Van Valkenburg (Reverend Eager). Rodney Strong is the stage manager.
Performances on April 27-28, May 4-5 and May 11-12 begin at 8 p.m. Shows on May 3 and May 10 begin at 7 p.m. Matinees on April 29, May 6 and May 13 begin at 2:30 p.m.
The show will be presented in the Circle Theatre with limited seating. Reservations are recommended. For tickets, call the box office at (423) 267-8534 or visit TheatreCentre.com.
(Photo by Cansler Photography)