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
  •   BEREAVE IT OR NOT  |  August 22, 2014
    A dramedy about death, lust, and love by Portland actress and playwright Megan E. Tripaldi.
  •   WELCOME OBSCENITY  |  August 22, 2014
    When dancers or denizens at these close tables rustle, giggle, or whisper something titillating, it sounds like the prurience is coming from someone in our own party.
  •   WHEREFORE ART THOU?  |  August 14, 2014
    Monmouth's R&J and the quest for passion
  •   THE DREAM LIVES ON  |  July 31, 2014
    The Deertrees experience is not just theater shows, and not just its program of concerts. Deertrees is also a certain ethos of small-town summertime in Maine.
  •   STEEL POPPIES  |  July 18, 2014
    Linda Sturdivant directs a spirited and attractively appointed production of the musical The Full Monty , the Americanized version of the 1997 British film, at the historic City Theater, in Biddeford.

 See all articles by: MEGAN GRUMBLING