Campus News

Window to the past: Emily Bronte’s secret life revealed in Southeastern premiere of UGA playwr

The University Theatre presents  the Southeast premiere of Children of an Idol Moon at Seney-Stovall Chapel. This compelling tale by doctoral  candidate Cheryldee Huddleston offers a glimpse into the reclusive world of Emily Bronte, author of the haunting 19th-century novel Wuthering Heights. Directed by George Contini, Children of an Idol Moon opens a window into the troubled past of the Brontes.

Children of an Idol Moon will be performed Feb. 16-18 and Feb. 22- 25 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 2:30 p.m.  Regular admission is $12; admission for students and senior citizens with ID is $10. Tickets are available at the University Theatre box office located in the lobby of the Fine Arts Building at the corner of Lumpkin and Baldwin streets. The box office is open noon-5 p.m. weekdays.

Winner of the PEN USA Award for Drama for her play Who Loves You, Jimmie Orrio? (her master of fine arts thesis production at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas), Huddleston is a doctoral candidate in UGA’s Department of Theatre and Film Studies.

The play is set in the misty English moors of Emily Bronte’s childhood. After their mother died, the Bronte children’s shared love of writing became their only relief from the cold, oppressive atmosphere of their father’s discipline. Children of an Idol Moon explores the tangled relationships between the brother and sisters, in particular the curious magnetism between Emily and her brother Branwell, thought by some to be the Heathcliff to Emily’s -Catherine. 

“In fact in the world of my play, audiences may discover parallels between Heathcliff and Emily herself—the indomitable soul who loves without care or concern for what the world thinks, who wishes only to remain on her moors forever,” Huddleston says.

The play also depicts the fevered reception of the novel in her treatment of Bronte’s history.

“Emily did not understand why readers were so disturbed and unsettled by Wuthering Heights. Like Emily, I was lead by my passions,” Huddleston says.

 Children of an Idol Moon has benefited from an exciting collaboration between playwright, director and cast for its Southeast premiere in Athens, and Huddleston is excited that the historic 19th-century Seney-Stovall Chapel will be the venue for this production. Although director Contini is working to recapture the haunting atmosphere of the 19th century moors for Children of an Idol Moon, the overall approach to the production is highly contemporary. 

“The play opens on Emily’s deathbed, and we experience the story as a vision of Emily’s fevered brain,” says Contini, an assistant professor in the theatre and film studies department at UGA. “Memories, images, text and emotions swirl together in almost a nightmarish way.  The imaginary Gothic world of the Bronte sisters becomes, in fact, the reality. ” 

Children of an Idol Moon deals with adult situations and may not be appropriate for young children. The performance runs approximately two hours with one 10-minute intermission.

Tickets also will be available at the  theatre door one hour prior to show time.  Reservations may be made in advance by calling the University Theatre Box Office at 542-2838. Tickets are also available at Schoolkids Records (264 E. Clayton Street.)

—Michelle Smith