This past Wednesday all the Macaulay students attended the Broadway play “The Heiress”. This was the first play I have ever been to and it was really a great experience. I am very grateful for the opportunity. The play was based on Henry James’ “Washington Square”, and although it was very similar to the novel, it had some noticeable differences. The most important difference was the dramatic ending, in which Catherine leaves Morris outside, banging on the door and begging for her to come back. I thought this was much more suitable for the play since the ending of the novel was rather dry. Other minor changes I picked up on were the trip to Europe taken by the doctor and Catherine only lasted six months instead of twelve. Also Mrs. Montgomery visited Dr. Sloper at his house instead of hers.
The novelty of watching actors perform live, flawlessly on stage was incredible. The cast did a fantastic job of portraying the characters. My particular favorite was Lavinia Penniman. The actress brought out her nosiness and dramatic nature very well. Catherine was also played superbly. The actress portrayed her to be even more awkward and shy than I imagined her to be after reading the book. Morris and Dr. Sloper were also excellent. I really felt bad for Catherine after her father had insulted her and Morris had abandoned her. It takes good acting to bring out emotions in people, and a lot of the audience was laughing throughout the play, including myself, at Catherine’s timidness and Lavinia’s lines. I noticed a lot of lines that came straight out of the book, and for that and other reasons I am glad we were introduced to the story before we saw the play. It definitely enhanced an already good experience.