Wednesday 10/17 Andrew Garafalo

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.

The Heiress – 10/17/2012

On Wednesday, I went to see my first ever Broadway play. It was titled “The Heiress”, and based off the novel “Washington Square”. The moment I walked into the theater, I was able to see the seating, and the velvet balcony rails. I was amazed by the grand setting with the extravagantly long curtains covering the center stage. As the play began, I found myself comparing the image I had from the characters in the book to the actors on stage. Usually, when I compare movies to books, they never quite satisfy the image I have in mind. However, this time, the actors perfectly portrayed the characters just as I had them in my mind. Catherine’s awkward poses always seemed to be just as I imagined.

Compared to how the movies depicted Catherine, I preferred the play much more. I feel as though Catherine wasn’t as determined to please her father as in the movies. She wasn’t introduced by anyone to Morris, but rather met him all on her own. They fell in love without the help of anyone else. She also seemed more of an independent character than she did in the movie versions.

My favorite thing about the play was the dramatic ending. At the end, everyone around me was sitting at the edge of their seats desperately anticipating  Catherine’s next move. I loved how the ending was much more fulfilling in the end. Initially when I finished the book, I felt as though Catherine didn’t make the right decisions. However, when I watched the play, I finally fully understood the final scene. I was completely content with the way it ended. The performance was so amazing, that I eagerly look forward to my next broadway play. It was definitely an experience worth remembering.

Corinna K. 10-17-12

Our trip to see The Heiress on Broadway this past Wednesday was, for the most part, a very enjoyable one.  I’ve gone to see Broadway plays before, but this time the experience was a bit different. This time around, I knew what to expect because I had read the book the play was based on.  Although for many people this would be seen negatively, to me it made things more interesting. It was fun being able to compare the two versions of the story.  I personally favor the play over the book Washington Square. The play incorporated a lot of humor into the telling of the story, although I do understand that it is easier to accomplish this through acting as opposed to writing.  In addition, I loved the ending of the play. When reading the book I was dying for Catharine to give Morris a taste of his own medicine or any type of punishment at all. When Catharine stands up Morris in The Heiress by leading him to believe that she will take him back and elope with him, I could not have been happier.

Overall, the play The Heiress was very entertaining.  Besides the wonderful actors and well-written script, the props and setting were also worth mentioning. I felt that the detail and effects, such as the light shining through the windows to show that it was morning, were very cool.  They made the scenes seem very believable which I loved. The only complaint that I have is that the seats where too steep, making the play hard to see without uncomfortably leaning over the railing.


When I left the theater on Wednesday night, all I could think was…WOW!  I loved reading Washington Square, and so I was a little apprehensive towards seeing it played out.  After all, movies generally seem to ruin the books that they are based on.  The Harry Potter movies took all the goodness of the series and twisted it beyond recognition (um in my opinion…), and I was scared that this play would do the same. However, I was pleasantly surprised; instead of spoiling the novel, The Heiress seemed to even improve the book and fix what it was lacking.  The surprise ending of the play demonstrated Catherine’s growth better than the book; instead of merely kicking Townsend out of the house, Catherine plays a nasty revenge and allows Townsend to feel the pain and desperation that she endured those years back.

I also thought the set of the house parlor was incredible.  Though that was the only setting in the play, the front room of the house where the story took place was rich and life-like.  I almost couldn’t blame Morris for obsessing over the quality and wanting to move in!  The actors and actresses couldn’t have done better, the script was laugh-out-loud funny, and even the detailed costumed contributed largely to the play.  Even though I read the book, I was never bored and had a great time.  The show was absolutely amazing.

The Heiress 10-17

On Wednesday, our class got the opportunity to go see the play The Heiress. After reading Washington Square by Henry James, I was eager to see it in another light, and I was not disappointed.

I think the play was excellent. It wasn’t a carbon copy of the book, but that was not the purpose of it. It did a good job of maintaining the key aspects of the book while adding many humorous and dramatic touches. Unlike the movie, I did not feel the play modernized the book, but rather it just allowed readers to see it come to life like never before. For example, the part involving Catherine’s red dress was really able to be visualized as we could see the vibrant red dress and hear Dr. Sloper’s tone of voice as he spoke to Catherine. The ending was probably my favorite part, as the curtain went down to the fading sound of Morris crying out, “Catherine! Catherine!” It was different from the book, but the dramatic aspect of it was incredible. I never thought I would feel that way about a play, but I was really overcome with emotion when I heard the cries for Catherine as she walked away and the curtain went down. It was definitely another great experience for me, and I was happy I enjoyed it as much as I did.

The Heiress (October 17, 2012)

My first Broadway play. Wow, what an experience! Since this was my first Broadway experience, I really didn’t know what to expect. The theater was beautifully designed. Even though we were pretty far back in the theater, the view of the stage was relatively good. Once I got into my seat, I couldn’t wait for the play to start.

In the opening act, we were introduced to the main characters. Right off the bat, I knew I was going to like the cast. Jessica Chastain, in my opinion, was a great choice to play Catherine. I like how she switched personalities from minute to minute. When Morris was around, she acted awkward and shy, yet, when she was alone, she was lively and witty. David Strathairn, who played Dr. Austin Sloper, also did a fantastic job. I would not have thought of David Strathairn to play Austin, but after seeing him on stage, I would reconsider. I was not really impressed with the character Morris, played by Dan Stevens. Stevens is a good actor, but I do not think that he fit the character. He seemed to be a little too charming. The character of Morris was intended to be a jerk, uncaring about Catherine and caring more about her money. It appeared that Morris actually developed feelings for Catherine in his actions and words, contrary to the plot and back story.

As for the plot, I feel that the playwright and directors took a few too many liberties from the original novel, for better or for worse. For example, Morris is introduced to Catherine by Marian, rather than Mrs. Penniman. That changes the course of the plot because the whole story is centered on the fact that Mrs. Penniman forces Morris onto Catherine instead of allowing her to develop her own feelings. In the play, it seems that Catherine genuinely falls for Morris, without the help of the other characters. In addition, Catherine does not live to please her father in the play as much as in the book. She played a more oppositional role on the stage. For instance, she fought with her father about writing her out of his will. She even agreed to help him write her out.

Finally, the ending. I absolutely loved it! I thought it was a lot more dramatic and theatrical than the ending in the novel. In the last act, Morris was at the house with Mrs. Penniman when the family returns home early. Austin, who was very sick, dies soon after. Morris and Catherine plan to elope, but Morris doesn’t come back that night for her. It turns out that he has chosen to go to Louisiana and California without her. He returns a year later, asking to escape again. Catherine bizarrely agrees, and Morris runs home to pack. While he is gone, Catherine turns to Mrs. Penniman and says something to the effect of, “He wanted my money, and now he wants my heart too.” From the way she said that, it appeared that she might in fact kill him. However, as a plot twist, Catherine closes the windows shades, turns off most of the lights and has the maid lock and bolt the door when Morris arrives. Morris proceeds to bang and scream at the door. After a few seconds, she kills the lights and quietly walks upstairs to her room, leaving him out in the cold. Curtain drops. Amazing!

The Heiress 10/17/12

On wednesday, my classmates and I went into New York City for a second time to see another great performance. This time, we went to go see a  broadway show called The Heiress. Professor Kahan chose a great show to see because it correlated to our reading and writing assignment on the novel Washington Square.

I fully enjoyed this broadway show. I thought that it was very similar to the novel and the characters in the play were just as I interpreted them to be in the novel. I loved the humor in the play as well. Just as the irony and humor was incorporated into the novel, it was also incorporated in the play. Even though I thought all the characters did a fantastic job with their specific roles, I thought that Jessica Chastain played Catherine Sloper’s role perfectly. She was very awkward, ungraceful, and unsocial just as we read in the novel. I even felt that her appearance in the play was very similar to what I have read in the novel.

One particular part of the play that I really enjoyed was the final scene. In the novel, when Morris Townsend came over Catherine’s house after a few years without seeing her, Catherine told Morris that she does not even want to be friends with him and to leave her house immediately. I thought that exact scene would also occur in the play. However, I was greatly mistaken. In the play, Catherine tricked Morris to believe that she agreed to marry him that night. However, just like he did to her a few years ago, she completely ignored him when he came to pick her up. She got her revenge on him. I thought this scene made the play much more enjoyable and exciting. I liked the final scene in the play much more than I did in the novel.

I was ver happy to see this play with my classmates. It was a great way to visualize what I have read in the novel. It was a great night with great people that I will never forget.

Ariana Z. 10/17 The Heiress

Wednesday night our class traveled to the “Walter Kerr Theatre” to see the Broadway production, “The Heiress.” Since I was aware of the plot before attending the play, I assumed that there was little about the play that would shock me. I must admit, however, after witnessing the end of the play I was completely awestruck.

What stood out to me about the theatre itself was its small size, small that is, when compared to the immense size of The Metropolitan Opera House. Once the play began, I noticed that it had almost no set changes. The only things I saw change were the placement of the tables and the different hues of lighting at the windows to signify the moments of day and night in the play. In fact, the lighting could arguably be its own character in the play. In many instances it dictated when the audience should laugh or feel sympathy for Catherine. And ultimately it served for a chilling and captivating ending. The end of this play was what truly dumbfounded me. It paved the way for such mixed reactions I had to Catherine’s actions. At first I believed that she yet again fell for Morris (as Professor Kahan warned us that the play had a shocking ending) which led me to exclaim “What a stupid girl!,” then a few moments later I assumed she was going to kill Morris or perhaps even herself!

A few complaints I had about the plays portrayal were that Morris was more likable than I would have preferred. I would rather I dislike the villain than actually accept him. Also, the lack of the party for Miriam, though not a major issue, was in my opinion missed. One last complaint, was how little time they allowed to pass between Catherine and Morris’ break up.

My favorite moment would have to be the tension that was built as Morris stood outside her door and became increasingly violent and impatient as Catherine would not answer. Her independence and new found wisdom was personified as Jessica Chastain, who portrayed Catherine beautifully, shut the lights off slowly, one by one. This coupled with the shrills of Dan Steven’s (Morris) voice calling for Catherine left the audience speechless.

Ultimately, what I took from this play is that despite how amazing a book is, seeing it in a different medium can lead you to truly ask, which is better the book, or the play?

The Heiress

On Wednesday night, we ventured out into the city again to see The Heiress. This wasn’t my first experience with seeing a play, but it was my first with my new Macaulay friends, and like the opera experience, it is one that I will never forget. I had a lot of fun being with my friends and I was able to see a great play.

I’m going to avoid comparing the play to the book, as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve come to accept that a play, or a movie, will be different from the book. All I would like to say in regards to that is that I liked the way that the creators of the show put the story of the play together. I felt that the story was a little rushed, but it was necessary in order to not drag out the play too much.

Overall, the play had a lot of humor in it and I enjoyed that. All of the characters had a humorous part to contribute to the play. I enjoyed a lot of Catherines awkward movements and responses. One in particular movement and response was when she would just curtsey slowly when she would see someone or when she would just answer someone who asked a long winded question with a peculiar “Yes.”

So, I want to start by saying that I enjoyed all of the actor’s performances. My favorite performance has to be by Judith Ivey, who played Mrs. Penniman. The way that she played Mrs. Penniman was pretty close to how to my image on what imagined her being like when I was reading the book. If I were to rewrite the part of my paper again when I had to choose actors to play the parts of the characters, I would have chosen her instead of my original selection of Kathy Bates. Many parts of the play that involved her had a lot of humor that I enjoyed.


Tonight’s play was so amazing! I really enjoyed how the play was different from the novel but, in a way so that it kept true to the novel even though it took some liberties. I think that the important things that make the story Washington Square were there which is the important thing but, less important things were changed and this made it so that even a person who didn’t read the novel could understand the play.

The actors and actresses did a fantastic job! Judith Ivey who played Aunt Penniman was so hilarious and I was always smiling when she came on stage. Virginia Kull who played Catherine was wonderful as well. She was shy and uncomfortable in the beginning without being annoying. The audience loved how she bowed and sat down very slowly trying to be graceful. I’m happy that they were able to tone down the actress without her losing too much of her beauty, she was simple yet, striking, the way many people including myself envisioned Catherine. I loved David Strathairn who played Dr. Sloper. He was stern but he wasn’t too stern so that the audience didn’t like him. I think the writers gave him funny lines and the way he acted made it so that we couldn’t like Dr. Sloper nor could we hate him. Dan Stevens who played Morris played him very well.

The ending, the ending, the ending! The whole play had me laughing or in shock at what was just said but the ending was the only time I felt the feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was so nervous that Catherine was going to marry him, when she told him to get ready and gave him the buttons I thought to myself, “This isn’t supposed to happen! This is going to ruin the whole play for me!” The way Catherine just ignored Morris made up for my momentary worry. The way Morris called for Catherine pulled at my heartstrings.

-Amber G