Based on the novel by Emily Bronte
Adapted by Christina Calvit
Directed by Elise Kauzlaric
At Lifeline Theatre, Chicago
Stylistic stage presentation of Bronte’s Gothic novel is a winner.
Adapter Christina Calvit has condensed Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights into a stylistic stage play that captures the essence of Bronte’s story. Alan Donahue’s set features a swirling circle duel stair-like set with a centered front door. One swirl for the Earnshaws and one for the Lintons.
Nelly Dean (Cameron Feagin), as the Earnshaw’s maid both narrates and befriends the Earnshaw women. Wuthering Heights (1847) covers two generations as it swiftly moves back and forth in time to an epic love story. This play contains highly physical depictions as well as utilizing powerful imagery, especially evoked through Sarah Hughey’s lighting design and Andrew Hansen’s sounds.
Heathcliff (Gregory Isaac) and Cathy (Lindsay Leopold) believe themselves eternally bound as soul mates in love. But when they are brutally torn apart, Heathcliff leaves the area to re-make himself and commence his course of retribution to destroy all who have wronged him. Since his beloved Cathy has married Edgar Linton (Robert Kauzlaric) for stability, Heathcliff returns and the cyclic nature of revenge emerges. This story is filled with unknowable passions of the heart.
The mean Hindley Earnshaw (John Henry Roberts) and the cold-hearted Edgar Linton battle Heathcliff for wealth of the Yorkshire stormy moors of Wuthering Heights. This work contains one of the darkest antiheroes in Heathcliff who is handled most passionately by Gregory Isaac. This epic is presented in a swiftly moving and physically powerful stylistic production. Lindsay Leopold and Cameron Feagin anchor the show. John Henry Roberts is the nasty Hindley while Nick Vidal is the sickly Linton and Christopher Chmelik is the uneducated Hareton.
Kudos to Christina Calvit and the creative staff at Lifeline Theatre for once again taking a dense novel and making it come to life on stage with force, power and deep emotion. These folks sure know how to tell a story! Excellent acting with fine Yorkshire accents and authentic period costumes (designed by Branimira Ivanova) complete a flawless production. Gothic stories work nicely on stage.
At lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood, Chicago, IL, call 773-761-4477, www.lifelinetheatre.com, tickets $20 – $35, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 4 and 8 pm, Sundays at 4 pm, running time is 2 hours and 30 minutes with intermission.