2017 marked the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. This adaptation of her final novel, Persuasion, by Sharmini Kumar demonstrates the enduring appeal of her wit and her ideas.
This piece of innovative theatre was the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2017 after a world premiere performance at LaTrobe University’s Jane Austen Day. It was revived in February 2018 and was also presented at the 2018 Jane Austen Festival in Canberra.
The audience are invited to sit amongst the action in this re-telling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, where they can overhear conversations among the servants and between the characters. With the drama happening in 360 degrees around the audience, it places the contemporary viewer right in the middle of the discussions about events and ideas that would have been familiar to Austen’s original readers. These issues are surprisingly relevant and resonant in today’s world.
This production highlights the links between Jane Austen's last completed novel and the events going on in England and abroad at the time. The book touches on ideas about class, women, justice, war and revolution, making it both thoughtful and romantic. This interpretation gives weight to both of those strengths of the book.
“Jane Austen is popular not just because she wrote love stories, but because she wrote with wit, subtlety and honesty. Those things don’t lose their power.” –Sharmini Kumar (Writer/Director)