A Noise Within (ANW) presents the first production of its 26th season, the United States premiere of Tony-winner Mike Poulton’s thrilling adaptation of “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. This production will be directed by co-producing artistic directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, and performing Sept. 3 – Nov. 19.
“A Tale of Two Cities” opening lines are among the most famous in all Western literature: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” More than 200 million copies of the book have been purchased – making it the second bestselling single-volume of all time (the first is Cervantes’ Don Quixote, the basis of ANW’s spring 2017 hit Man of La Mancha).
Julia Rodriguez-Elliott said, “Poulton has given the theatre a bold, fast-paced adaptation. He breathed new life into the classic novel, a taut political thriller that feels so immediate, so exciting, so theatrical, and so wonderfully alive for audiences. It’s a roller coaster of romance and adventure, without losing the rich characterizations and Dickens’ eloquent language.”
The Guardian, in its review of the original 2014 production, called it “Fresh! A smash-and-grab raid of an adaptation … with a relentless pace building up to the terminal velocity of a political thriller … it’s like speed reading Dickens by flickering candlelight.” The Telegraph also said, “Lending the drama a cinematic quality, this fast, fluid evening distils the novel’s tumultuous essence … [with a] nick-of-time, thriller-like urgency that persists as we plunge deeper into the bloody chaos unfolding across the Channel and the fates converge.”
Tickets for “A Tale of Two Cities”, starting at $25, are available online at http://www.anoisewithin.org and by phone at (626) 356-3100. A Noise Within is located on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue at 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107, just north of the Madre Street exit off the 210.
Geoff Elliott states, “If there is anything that is on display in ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, it is the theme of our season, Entertaining Courage. It depicts one courageous act after another – the books ends with Sydney Carton’s ultimate act of courage.”
“’A Tale of Two Cities’ is about people whose acts of courage make the world a better place. And in that way, this play couldn’t be more timely,” Elliott continues, “We are a nation in shock; there is a sense of perplexing numbness not only here in our country, but across the planet. Tale gives us that salve, showing us that even among the hopeless and the disenfranchised, there are still ways we can positively influence each other’s lives.”
Robert Hunziker on Counterpunch.org noted, “Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT in his new book, ‘The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy’, says America is two separate economic and political worlds and has a remarkable commonality of socio-economic-political similarities to King Louis XVI’s France (beheaded at Place de la Concorde, Paris, Jan. 21, 1793) … one America is 20 percent of the population: finance, technology, and electronics citizens that enjoy topflight educations, the best jobs, social networks that work on their behalf, and plenty of money, lots and lots of money, children tutored and first class travel.
“Rarely do they visit the country where 80 percent of Americans live, i.e., the low wage sector in and around cities, whether suburb or inner city. This totally different world lives in shrinkage, not growth. Its inhabitants wear an anvil of burdensome debt, work insecurity, sickness without decent medical care and dying younger than (their) parents … and when they get sick, quite different things happen.”
Hunziker continued, “The 2016 presidential race, for the first time, publicly exposed anger by Low Wagers because of a glaring imbalance of class welfare in America. […] is Dickens’ scene of Marquis Evrémonde’s golden carriage running down a plebian child without showing any regret similar to Donald Trump?”
“A Tale of Two Cities (1859)” is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same period.
“A Tale of Two Cities” cast includes Kasey Mahaffy as Attorney General/DeFarge/Gabelle, Frederick Stuart as Sydney Carton, Nicholas Hormann as Dr. Manette, Geoff Elliott as Judge/Marquis/Jerry Cruncher, Emily Goss as Lucie Manette, Trisha Miller as Miss Pross/Jenny Herring, Abby Craden as Madame Defarge/Mrs. Keating, Michael Stone Forrest as Mr. Lorry/Coachman, Michael Uribes as Barsad/Peasant Father/French Aristocat/Citizen, Tavis Doucette as Charles Darnay, Jeremy Rabb as Mr. Stryver/French Aristocat/President, and Rigel Pierce-English as Peasant Son/Girl/Citizen, Juan Carlos Sánchez as Clerk of the Court/Waiter/Galoer/Office, and Johnathan Wallace as French Arisotcat/Gaoler/Officer. The cast also includes Fionn James, Nick Bruno, Jessamyn Arnstein, Anusha Mathur, Nova Mandel, Faith Boeke, Calista Schlossman, Daniel Rivera, and Kate Davey as members of the Mob.
The run of A Tale of Two Cities includes a pre-performance symposium on Wednesday, September 6 at 6:45 p.m.; post-performance conversations with the artists on Friday, September 29 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, October 29 at 2 p.m.; Friday, November 10 at 8 p.m. and a Pay What You Can performance on Thursday, September 7 at 7:30 p.m.