Henry James' The Aspern Papers, the 2000-01 season opener for The Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC), ends its run Nov. 5. The short story, adapted by Sir Michael Redgrave, began performances from Oct. 6.
James loosely based his story on the true account of Clare Clarmont, who had a child by Lord Byron. James transposed the story from the mid to late 19th century, "an age of newspapers, telegrams, photography and interviewers."
The play is set in Venice at the turn of the century and deals with an American publisher's search for a batch of letters written to his mistress by Jeffery Aspern, a mythical American poet of Byron's time. The publisher locates the woman, now old and eccentric, living in isolation with her spinster niece. The play has a strong connection to our present age of personality, fame, instant communication and the prying into the private lives of public figures.
Robert Grande-Weiss, ETC's artistic director, has selected a cast which includes Christopher Armbrister, Alison Coutts, Gretchen Evans, Betty Mann, Victoria Thompson and Simon N. Butera.
Ensemble Theatre Company works out of the Alhecama Theatre, 914 Santa Barbara St. For tickets and information call (805) 962-8606 or visit www.ensembletheatre.com -- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent