It's not a happy story, and nor is it brief: Singley's adaptation is commendably thorough and sensitive, but it's also on the long side, with frequent scene shifts sometimes handled more gracefully than others. Another occasional difficulty lies in characters' accents, which are sometimes inconsistent, and one or two staging choices are a little jarring, such as a rather lurid red gel accompanying Tess's last fateful encounter with Alec.

But overall, Dead Wessex's Tess is a solid and spirited production, with a radiant Tess and an acute sensibility for the relevance of her fate. The most dangerous attitude that damns her — and damns our current culture wars — might well be Angel's, as with the best intentions he cleaves to his imaginary ideals of a woman, rather than her contingency-riddled human reality.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles | by Thomas Hardy | Adapted by April Singley | Directed by Harlan Baker | Produced by Dead Wessex Fair Productions | at Lucid Stage, in Portland | through September 23 | 207.899.3993

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Theater , Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Lardie, Tess of the d’Urbervilles,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE MOST BRUTAL SPORT  |  July 11, 2014
    Ballet is not for pussies.
  •   DISTILLED PORTRAIT  |  July 10, 2014
    The greatest love of the show’s title—for both Chamberlain and its audience—remains the war itself.
  •   MAKE/BELIEVE  |  June 25, 2014
    Portland is already in the thick of the PortFringe 2014, the city’s third annual festival of eclectic, wide-ranging theater from here and afar. This year’s festival of 50 shows runs June 24-29 at six venues — Empire, Geno’s, Mayo Street Arts, SPACE Gallery, and the Portland Stage Studio Theater and Storefront — and includes a first-ever Family Fringe program.
  •   AS WE LIKE IT  |  June 18, 2014
    PortFringe, Fenix Theatre Company, Maine State Music Theatre, Deertrees Theatre, and more
  •   A COMPLEX FALL FROM GRACE  |  June 11, 2014
    Ray Marc Dumont directs a taut, colorful, riveting production of Grey Gardens for Mad Horse Theatre Company.

 See all articles by: MEGAN GRUMBLING