Thursday, March 19, 2015

Theater: Come to the "Goblin Market"! (For 3 Nights Only)

Illustration by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, image from poster for Goblin Market 2015 production by Theatre GRU
"There is no friend like a sister."
(Christina Rossetti - "Goblin Market")

Christina Rosetti's fairy poem Goblin Market is beloved by many and often given consideration alongside other literary fairy tales as its own layered masterpiece. While it's not the first time it's been adapted for stage, I haven't seen performances crop up often at all the last decade in the US, which is sort of unusual when you consider just how popular the poem is, and how often it's taught at universities with theater companies attached.

This adaptation is by Patricia Pace and will be performed at The Maxwell Performing Arts Theater in Augusta, Georgia, Thursday through Saturday nights for this week only. With tickets $10 and under, if you love the poem, fairy tales and are in the area, this is worth considering for a night out.

From the Press Release:
Goblin Market 
by Christina Rossetti 
adaptation by Patricia Pace 
adapted and directed by Melanie Kitchens O'Meara 
Visually stunning and ripe with sensuous language, Christina Rossetti's poem Goblin Market is performed by six Victorian actresses between occasional rests in The Green Room. Patricia Pace said, "the adaptation investigates the many layer's of meaning in the poem -- a children's cautionary tale, a rebuke to the new commodity market in Victorian England, a religious allegory, a poet's wish for a female literary tradition, a fantasy about women caring for other women."*Contains mature content.
Illustration by Arthur Rackham
As Dr. Amanda M. Caleb, assistant professor at Misericordia University, said at a storytelling gathering earlier in the year, in which she spoke about fairy tales and how they relate to social issues:
“Rossetti’s poem is one that has intrigued me since I first read it as an undergrad, as it has so many possible interpretations: we might read it as a religious allegory, a tale of female solidarity, a critique of laissez-faire economics, or a warning about food adulteration — I really appreciate the depth of the tale!”
I found a little background on the play in an article published a couple of days ago and am putting the highlights below to give you a better idea of how the poem is being translated to stage for this production.

From The Bell Ringer (GRU):
Illustration by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
O’Meara, who is directing the Georgia Regents production of “Goblin Market,” said she acted in Pace’s adaption of the play when she was an undergraduate. She said she wanted to take the play further, readapt it and add things to it. “I knew that one day, once I had a position somewhere, that I would want to direct it myself,” O’Meara said. “The play follows these six women who are Victorian actresses, and they are on stage performing this Victorian poem and then we see them backstage dealing with women’s issues of the time.” O’Meara said the poem may seem lighthearted, but has a much darker side to it. “Some people would argue that this is a poem for children, but it’s not,” O’Meara said. “It’s very much not for kids.” 
Arthur Rackham
“(Lucette) is the one who … has a semi-masculine role,” Farmer (who plays Lucette) said. “She is a little older (and) she’s a little more experienced. She’s a really fun character to play when it comes to the actual poem part, because she’s playing a goblin – and being a goblin is really fun because I get to do really crazy, ridiculous things.” 

“(Dame Miriam is) sort of the leading actress of the company,” Owens (who plays her) said. “She’s very flirtatious, always making jokes, but she’s also the comforter.”
Farmer said she hopes the audience will see the greater meaning behind the play. “It is both a fun play to watch and listen to,” Farmer said. “But it does have some deeper meanings going on, and it’s really fun to find those deeper levels when you’re in the midst of laughing at a situation that you didn’t realize was... a pretty serious topic. It’s great fun.”
The play is performed by an all-female cast and will be close to 70 minutes long without an intermission.
If you get to see it, why don't you let us know? We are very curious for we would like to go to the Goblin Market ourselves...


  1. For those who don't know of it already, the cast recording of another, musical adaptation of 'Goblin Market' from 1987 is worth a listen.

  2. oh sigh..... if only I lived near there..... I would love, love, love to see it... -sigh-

    certainly hope that it is well publicized and very well attended. please do give us a follow-up, on this treat.


  3. I should reread that poem. I have it in The Victorian Fairy Tale Book.