Stephanie Solanki, 10/17/12

Yesterday, we went to the play The Heiress. It was my first Broadway in very long time.

My first impression was of the theatre itself. It was very grandiose, “magnificent, opulent, and sumptuous.” I thought that the gaudy and over-the-top decorations of the theatre added to the experience of the play. The play is set in the Victorian era, which is also very gaudy and opulent. I was very impressed, also, with the set. It was beautifully done! The columns and rich-looking furniture helped to bring the story to life. I found the lighting so interesting. To transition to a morning scene, the lighting in the windows became gradually brighter to give the effect that the sun was coming up. During night scenes, the windows were not completely black, but gave off a blue light to show that the moon was outside. I found that little things like these really made the set of the play into a very realistic world.

I am really glad that I had to thoroughly analyze the book before I went to the play. This way, I was able to appreciate the story and how the actors portrayed the roles they were given. I really loved Jessica Chastain’s Catherine Sloper. I appreciated how her voice was very timid and monotone in the beginning, but as Catherine found herself, Chastain made her voice louder and she expressed her feelings through the tone of her voice more. I felt that Austin Sloper was not portrayed as witty and sarcastic as he should have been. He seemed a little lazy and tired. Mrs. Penniman’s voice was so on point with her character! In the book, she is the overly emotional character, and her wavering, high-pitched voice was perfectly in tune with her character. I thought that Morris Townsend seemed too sincere and too little of a sleaze in the play. He seemed at times to actually love Catherine.

I loved the ending of the play very much. It was perfect for a theatre performance of this story. It was more dramatic than the ending in the book, which is fitting for theatre. Even though the ending was drawn out, it didn’t skew the author’s intentions of the characters. It actually helped to better express how Catherine felt at the end.

Overall, I was very impressed with The Heiress. I was most impressed with the technicalities and the details that go into a play of this kind. I was impressed at how the set and lighting design created a whole new world on stage, one in which the actors were able to express their characters freely how they wished.