CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS

2020 Rising Artists Playwrights Award / 1st Place Henley Rose Award / Newvember Festival Dublin / Irish Rep New Works Reading Series / O'Neill Semifinalist / Top 25 Plays, Pandora's Box and other honors

(Full length) A fresh take on the Brontë sisters, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became increasingly close...
2020 Rising Artists Playwrights Award / 1st Place Henley Rose Award / Newvember Festival Dublin / Irish Rep New Works Reading Series / O'Neill Semifinalist / Top 25 Plays, Pandora's Box and other honors

(Full length) A fresh take on the Brontë sisters, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became increasingly close to her married tutor and employer, Monsieur Heger--with biographer Mrs. Gaskell's struggle to salvage Charlotte's posthumous reputation and trailblazing novels. Linking both stories is the mystery of Charlotte's attraction to Heger, who encouraged her writing while helping inspire scandalous books like JANE EYRE. A play about love, friendship, and the making of art and identity.
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CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS

Recommended by

  • Claudia Haas:
    30 Jan. 2020
    A gorgeous layered play about love, duty, and memory. I was hooked from the lyrical opening through the end. What does a biographer owe her subject? Absolute truth (warts & all) or a truth ensconced in the mores of the times? I loved the mixture of “duties” required by Charlotte to family, work, and her calling combined with Gaskell’s duty as biographer and protector-of-reputation. There is irony that while Gaskell cleansed Chatlotte’s reputation, she also preserved it. O’Grady seamlessly puts together a story of complicated women navigating a time that was not kind to them.
  • Bryan Stubbles:
    21 Dec. 2019
    If you're really into the Brontë sisters, you're gonna love this play.
  • Doug DeVita:
    22 Nov. 2019
    Oh, how I love this play. As a fan of 19th century British literature, and the Brontës in particular, reading this was a treat. Elegantly written and beautifully spare, O'Grady captures both Charlotte Brontë's spirit and character, and puts forth her supposition regarding the genesis of "Jane Eyre" with remarkable clarity and a sure sense of the dramatic, licenses notwithstanding. A superb, magical, wonderful work.

Character Information

  • Charlotte Brontë (pronounced BRON-tee)
    20s.,
    British.
  • Monsieur Heger (pronounced Ay-ZHAY)
    30s.,
    Belgian.
    Teacher of Literature and Writing.
  • Mrs. Gaskell
    40s.,
    British.
    A novelist.
  • Meta Gaskell (pronounced MEE-ta)
    19,
    British.
    Mrs. Gaskell's daughter.
  • Emily Brontë
    20s.,
    British.
    Charlotte's sister
  • Madame Heger
    30s,
    Belgian.
    School directress. Heger's wife.
  • Woman
    Late teens/20s,
    Belgian
    Plays Belgian Maid, Servant, Pupil's Voice, Louise.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Attic Salt Theatre Company (Asheville, NC)
    ,
    2020
  • Reading
    ,
    Yellow Rose Productions (Knoxville, TN)
    ,
    2018
  • Reading
    ,
    AboutFace Ireland (Dublin, Ireland)
    ,
    2017
  • Reading
    ,
    Irish Repertory Theatre, New Works Series (New York, NY)
    ,
    2016

Awards

Winner
,
Rising Artists Playwriting Award
,
Attic Salt Theater Company
,
2020
Selection
,
World Premiere Club
,
Applause Theater & Cinema Books
,
2020
Finalist
,
Lance Hewett Reading Series
,
Isle of Shoals Productions Inc.
,
2020
Top 25 Plays, Pandora's Box New Works Festival
,
2019
Finalist
,
Talk Back Theatre
,
2018
Selection
,
Writer2Writer Program
,
Associated Writing Programs (AWP)
,
2018
Winner
,
(1st Place), Henley Rose Playwrights Award for Women
,
Yellow Rose Productions
,
2018
Second Rounder
,
Austin Film Festival Playwriting Award
,
2018
Winner
,
NEWvember New Plays Festival Dublin
,
2017
Selection
,
New Works Series
,
Irish Repertory Theatre
,
2016