24 September 2019
So anyone who knows Charlene knows how much she loves Jane Eyre. It's her favorite book, and she has channeled that passion over the years into the creation of numerous fan websites, including her latest venture, The Eyre Guide. She's also made it a point to introduce me to the classic novel, as she bought me a personal copy of the book during a trip to the Bronte Parsonage just after we met. Like a good boyfriend, I quickly read through all 400+ pages so that we could discuss it at length, and we followed that up by watching each of the movie adaptations. I would even go on to incorporate Jane Eyre into my wedding proposal, as I used the exact same words that Mr. Rochester stated when he professed his love for his would-be bride. It goes without saying, the HoneyNerds are connected to this book.
As luck would have it, Charlene became aware of a live stage production of Jane Eyre being performed in Escondido, a sleepy little town just north of San Diego. We'd had some experience visiting Escondido - Charlene's father owns a time-share just outside the town - so we knew the two-hour drive would be bearable for a mid-week visit to see this unique production. But how was it unique? Well, we'd be seeing the classic work staged in a very intimate tea room, complete with table-side service of food and drinks.
I have yet to enjoy the experience of "dinner theater", though I'm not sure this particular show fit that mold, but either way it would be a fun night out. My sincere thanks go to the Grand Tea Room and the 413 Project for staging this production in a very clever way, using the cozy confines to connect with the audience. Wifi-enabled lighting helped to change the setting from indoors to outdoors as the story demanded, while also providing great ambience. The cast was solid, most notably Hunter Thiers as the titular heroine and Kelly Saunders as her rival Blanche Ingram - the chemistry between Thiers and Robin Thompson's Mr. Rochester was also simmering with just the right amount of romantic trepidation and smoldering intensity. The whole production should be proud of their work!
Oh, but did I mention the food? Yes, we were greeted with a full plate of salad and sandwiches after taking our seats, along with a delicious pot of Creme Brulee tea for our pleasure. When the intermission arrived, our drinks were refilled and we were given a selection of desserts that included a macaron and a cookie shaped like Charlotte Bronte herself. Far be it for me to pass up the perfect photo opportunity of taking a bite out of the beloved literary legend - though Charlene seemed none too pleased by my delight...
It's always nice to share in Charlene's greatest passion, and this night was perfect - it was a wonderful evening that I'll always remember! BRONTE 4 LIFE!
Postscript: Charlene is talking about her experience at the show on her blog - The Eyre Guide. Check out her thoughts here!