Bathsheba rejects Gabriel Oak, a humble straight talking man of the soil and Farmer Boldwood, a thoughtful middle-aged landowner only to finally succumb to the dubious charms of the raffish Sergeant Troy.
First produced for the International Thomas Hardy Festival at the famous Corn Exchange in Dorchester, the play has since been performed in London and the English regions as well as in Listowel, Co Kerry.
Adapting classics is a tricky business. The adaptor has to remain true to the text yet turn a sprawling novel into a stage show. Although there is a full-blooded “Far from the Madding Crowd” in my repertoire of adaptations, Bathsheba is very close to my heart since it invites the audience to view the fate of Bathsheba and the three men in her life in an uncluttered way. She is a character that also demands the love and devotion of her adaptor - dangerous territory I can tell you!
Bathsheba is a catalyst who plays havoc with men’s emotions wherever she goes. However, the play equally focuses on her three suitors and draws a parallel with the different aspects of men in love generally. All three characters can be described simply as steady but staid (Gabriel), desperate and sad (Boldwood) and flash but exciting (Troy). Having all three characters played by one versatile actor will highlight the fact men generally can carry all three characteristics at different times of their lives.
Bathsheba also has a lot to say about modern love-making and is ideal for audiences new to Hardy as well as the Hardy enthusiast. Put simply, Bathsheba has to deal with a dull git, a sad git and a flash git.
“This two-handed adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd remains true to the original text by focusing on narrative clarity and bleeding slabs of raw emotion that Hardy litters across his pages.”(Time Out).