Our final contribution to the 150th anniversary for Nevada’s statehood is a readers’ theater production of “East Lynne: A Story of Modern Life.” The play was taken from an English magazine serial, published as a novel by Mrs. Henry Wood in 1861. After it was dismissed by the British literary establishment as immoral, sensationalist, and “repulsive” sales took off! With its popularity soaring, it was in turn adapted for the stage.
For such a sensational melodrama, it has had continued appeal to audiences. Performances of “East Lynne” were held on stages in London and New York. Stage troupes who came West to Nevada’s Comstock Lode adapted and performed it first in Virginia City in 1863. The production is documented to have also appeared in Reno in 1870, 1871, twice in 1878, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1897, 1900, 1905 to 1907, and regularly after that until 1964. It ran somewhere in either England or North America every week for over forty years!
Thanks to David Fenimore from our Department of English for once again creating an exquisite adaptation which he has “brutally abridged” for our intrepid actors made up of members from the UNR faculty, staff and friends, myself included. How we all got roped into this melodrama we are still asking ourselves! Our fantastic director, Rob Gander from the Department of Theater and Dance, has advised us that this will soon be over, to relax and just think of England!
The one and (perhaps thankfully, but you be the judge!) only performance of “East Lynne” will be held Thursday, October 23, at 7:00 p.m. in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center Wells Fargo Auditorium. It is presented in conjunction with our Special Collections exhibit “When the Lights Dim: Arts and Entertainment in Nevada.” We will be pleased to see you, but please leave the rotten fruit at home!