Burning Coal Theatre Company will open the world premiere of JUDE THE OBSCURE, PARTS 1 & 2 by Ian Finley, with music and lyrics by Thomas Hardy, Bruce Benedict, Jerome Davis and Jonathan Fitts. The production will run April 12 – May 5, 2012 at the Murphey School, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh, NC.
Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets are $20 or $15 for students, seniors and active military. All tickets are $10 on Thursday evenings. For reservations and information, please call 919-834-4001 or visit www.burningcoal.org.
Considered by many to be Thomas Hardy's greatest novel, Jude was met with a profoundly negative public outcry upon its publication in 1895. It was reportedly burned by the Bishop of Wakefield, and was commonly referred to as Jude the Obscene because of its frank depiction of sexual concerns and its negative attitude toward the institution of marriage. Hardy was so dismayed by the critical and public reception that he never wrote another novel (though an earlier novel did get published after Jude).
The novel's primary concern is to question the value of institutions in our lives. It was written at a time when the industrial revolution was building up momentum, when rural people's lives were being changed inexorably, and one way of life was being replaced by another, more unrecognizable way of life. The shift was from rural to urban. The principles upon which families, villages and whole societies had been founded were crumbling and a new set of principles was perhaps hastily being put up as a replacement for those age-old principles. Amidst this scenario, Hardy envisioned a young man, "Jude", who was convinced that he could do anything he wanted to do if he worked hard enough, including scaling the walls of the most formidable institutions. Along the way, he falls in love with his cousin, Sue Bridehead and together they try to make a life for themselves against seemingly insurmountable odds.
Jude Fawley will be played by Raleigh's Stephen LeTrent (Lipstick Traces, Twelfth Night). Arabella Donn will be played by Liz Beckham (To Kill A Mockingbird, Tartuffe) of Austin, TX. Sue Bridehead will be played by NYC-based actor Alice Rothman-Hicks, a recent Columbia University graduate, who makes her Burning Coal debut with this production. The role of Richard Phillotson will be played by Elon's Kirby Wahl (The Prisoner's Dilemma). The cast also includes Samantha Rahn, John Allore, Julie Oliver, Angela Santucci, David Klionsky, Rob Jenkins, Greg Paul, Amy Amerson, Ashlea Barnett and, making his professional stage debut, Josh Martin as Young Jude/Little Father Time.