Long-awaited, modernized ‘Emma’ makes debut at Guthrie Theater

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s one of the most beloved female-centered novels of all time, and now history will be made as Jane Austen’s “Emma” makes its debut on the Guthrie Theater stage.

It’s a theater that’s made many a Minnesotan proud, and makes New York Times playwright of the year Kate Hamill excited.

“Minneapolis is a great theater town and I always find audiences are very energized and engaged, and I love a high-energy interactive piece,” Hamill said.

So it’s at the Guthrie that she’s debuting her newest interactive piece based on Austen’s 1815 masterpiece about a witty and educated matchmaker. Renowned director Meredith McDonough is also at the helm.

“Kate’s written a really feminist Emma, and I cry — I laugh so hard everyday, and I cry everyday at the end. We talk about the power of women, and what if women were given opportunity and what would we do if we do all we have the capacity to do,” McDonough said. “For me, I find it exciting and moving and it motivates me everyday.”

McDonough says the actors are motivated too, after the pandemic forced a sabbatical. They had originally started rehearsals in March 2020.

“It was very cathartic to come in this room and create this piece, which we necessarily had had to stop. And much to our surprise, we found the play was more relevant than it was in 2020,” McDonough said.

She says this long-awaited play honors the novel while using lots of humor, modern-day clothing, and pop music, similar to “Bridgerton.” An ode to the past, and celebration in the present.

“From the beginning, we’ve wanted people to feel like they could come and join the party. It’s a good one,” Hamill said.

“Emma” debuts Friday at the Guthrie and will run through Aug. 21. Tickets start at $26. Click here for more information.

Source : https://www.cbsnews.com/minnesota/news/long-awaited-modernized-emma-makes-debut-at-guthrie-theater/

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