Adapted by Kate Hamill (Sense & Sensibility) from William Thackeray’s masterpiece, Vanity Fair exposes a society that cares more for good birth and good manners than for skill. But Becky Sharp, poor, plain, and devilishly clever, is determined to defy the odds through risky romantic entanglements, shady business practices, and social climbing at any cost; she won’t stop until the world lies at her feet.
WSJ Review: Becky Sharp Takes The Stage
The first stage adaptation of Thackeray’s novel is a masterpiece of creative compression.
by Terry Teachout
“I’m suspicious as a rule of stage versions of classic novels, which are in most cases pointless attempts to “repurpose” a beloved book for purposes of profit. But Ms. Hamill’s “Vanity Fair,” which is being performed to coruscatingly brilliant effect by the Pearl Theatre Company, is something else again, a masterpiece of creative compression that is at once arrestingly original and faithful to its source material, and I’ll be flummoxed if it isn’t at least as big a hit as “Sense and Sensibility.”
Photo: Brad Heberlee, Joey Parsons, Tom O’Keefe and Kate Hamill PHOTO: RUSS ROWLAND
NYT Review: A Hectic ‘Vanity Fair,’ Starring That Nasty Woman
by Alexis Soloski
“But let’s be clear. Becky Sharp is not a feminist heroine. She won’t be joining any marches or knitting any hats. The status of women doesn’t interest her. Money does. And position. And the men who can provide them. A girl’s girl, she is not; a sociopath, she probably is.”
“This play provides a rare thing — a female character who behaves just as badly as the male ones without being reformed or punished. (Here anyway. The end of the Thackeray novel is somewhat more cruel and more downbeat.) “Vanity Fair” is a nasty tale and Becky is a nasty woman. Good for her.”
Photo: Ms. Parsons with Mr. Sanyal; Ms. Parsons plays the self-denying Amelia, who mostly exists to be virtuous. Credit Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
INTERVIEW with KATE HAMILL
“We recently witnessed, in a very concrete way, how uncomfortable our society is with ambitious women. They are always seen as unnatural and somehow untrustworthy. We need to see a story about a woman who’s ambitious – who tries to take on the world and is punished for it. Is she perfect? No, absolutely not – but the point of this play is that nobody is perfect or above reproach.”