CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS

1st Place Henley Rose Award / NEWvember Festival Dublin Winner / O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors

A fresh take on the Brontë sisters, intertwining novelist Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became increasingly close to her married tutor/employer, Monsieur Heger--with biographer Mrs. Gaskell's struggle to salvage Charlotte...
1st Place Henley Rose Award / NEWvember Festival Dublin Winner / O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors

A fresh take on the Brontë sisters, intertwining novelist Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became increasingly close to her married tutor/employer, Monsieur Heger--with biographer Mrs.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 encouragd her writing ambition while helping inspired scandalous books like JANE EYRE. A theatrical play about love, friendship, and the making--and unmaking--of female 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
    ,
    Yellow Rose Productions/Henley Rose Playwright Award (1st Place)
    ,
    2018
  • Reading
    ,
    AboutFace Ireland/NEWvember New Plays Festival Dublin
    ,
    2017
  • Reading
    ,
    Irish Repertory Theatre (NYC)
    ,
    2016

Awards

Finalist
,
Lance Hewett Reading Series
,
Isle of Shoals Productions Inc.
,
2020
Top 25 Plays, Pandora's Box New Works Festival
,
2019
Winner
,
(1st Place), Henley Rose Playwrights Award
,
Yellow Rose Productions
,
2018
Second Rounder
,
Asutin Film Festival Playwriting Award
,
2018
Shortlist
,
Talk Back Theatre
,
2018
Winner
,
NEWvember New Plays Festival Dublin
,
2017
Selection
,
New Works Series
,
Irish Repertory Theatre
,
2016
Semi-Finalist
,
Generations Award
,
Boulder Ensemble Theater Company (BETC)