in association with
KAREN GRENKE, CHRISTINA NICOSIA, JONATHAN VAN GIESON, DAVID VINING
Based on EMILY BRONTΛs Wuthering Heights
Sol Goldman 14th Street Y Theater, 344 E. 14 St., NYC, February 10 through 26, 2005
Directed byDAVID VINING
Set Design SUSAN BARRAS
Lighting Design REGAN DODSON
Costume Design XINA
Sound Design DAN NUXOLL
Stage Manager ELIZA JOHNSON
Publicity KAREN GRECO ENTERTAINMENT
Cath Earnshaw Karen Grenke
Heathcliff Jonathan Van Gieson
DJ Andrew Hurley
Lockwood Tim Shaw
Vice Principal Hindley John Grace
Hareton Hindley Dov Weinstein
Nelly Ginna Hoben
Zillah Meghan Love
Heather Rachel Speicher
Edgar Linton Stephen Blackwell
Izzy Linton Bryn Boice
Cathy Earnshaw Christina Nicosia
Principal Ellis David F. Smith
The names have not been changed to protect either the innocent or the legends of literature, but their situations have been drastically altered, time-warping Emily Brontλs Nineteenth Century novel to the New York stage 2005 via a bevy of 1980s teen flicks. The result is WUTHERING HIGH, a valiant attempt that could use a little fuel and a lot of focus to make it the little novel that could transcend time and medium.
There was no Molly Ringwald clone about, but her filmography was all over the place, with lots of Pretty In Pink, hints of The Breakfast Club and references to Sixteen Candles. There was even a big, group dance number. However, borrowing plot points from successful films and one great novel is no guarantee of a stellar delivery, especially when the final product lacks the polish of the source material. The script of WUTHERING HIGH does not seem to be the problem with this production. The plot unfurls when we move from page to stage, but something gets lost in the delivery, and it happens in more than one arena.
Instead of Molly, we have Catherine. In this version of the tale, she is a quasi-goth girl all too eager to get in with the popular crowd once rich kid Edgar takes notice. Her best friend and unrequited love is, of course, Heathcliff. He, unfortunately, is portrayed a la a very angry Judd Nelson role from one of the aforementioned films without the appropriate sense of irony or even camp to make the channeling successful. Onto the production values, there are issues there too. The set changes come a bit too often and intrusively, and the lighting gave the impression that we were out on the moors for real. The costumes, at least, were appropriate. Overall, problematic, and cumulatively, WUTHERING HIGH does not work.
I will credit the many contributors and actors responsible for WUTHERING HIGH for appearing to genuinely enjoy themselves, and for putting their all into what they are presenting onstage. I just wish I could give them an A for effort, as that would have meant time well spent by all of us.
- Kessa De Santis -