Play on Words: WPL and MTC team up

Happy New Year! We’re very excited to tell you that the Winnipeg Public Library’s new partnership with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre launches next week!

Mairi Babb in Educating Rita , John Hirsch Mainstage2009/10 season. Photo by Bruce Monk.

Mairi Babb in Educating Rita , John Hirsch Mainstage
2009/10 season. Photo by Bruce Monk.

When the Library and MTC first met to discuss the possibility of working together, everyone felt there was a lot we could offer each other. Together, we provide fresh paths for people to connect with the theatre experience: through interactive programs with playwrights, actors, and backstage artists, as well as through free access to resources that delve into the themes of the plays.

We’re so excited to get word out that we’ve arranged a treat. Starting early in January, at each of our branches you can enter a draw for a Gone with the Wind-inspired prize pack of books, a book bag, and a signed cast photo. That’s 20 prizes! The draws will be held on January 23, 2013. One lucky winner from those 20 prize packs will also receive a pair of tickets to the MTC production!

From Page to Stage: or, how a story becomes a play

Our very first artist talk series begins next week! Find us on Tuesdays in January from 12:10-12:50 pm in the Carol Shields Auditorium on the second floor of Millennium Library (you can enter directly off the Skywalk). As always, the programs are free and all are welcome. And we’ll be holding a draw for tickets to see the play

Tuesday, January 8: Niki Landau, playwright of Gone with the Wind, on adapting the well-known novel into a stage production

Tuesday, January 15: The two leads, Bethany Jillard (Scarlett O’Hara) and Tom McCamus (Rhett Butler), on playing these iconic roles

Tuesday, January 22: MTC’s Wardrobe department shares the secrets to creating the elaborate costumes seen on stage

Explore More: prepare beforehand or extend the experience

First edition cover

We’ve also put together a list of library resources that will give you a deeper understanding of Gone with the Wind. If you haven’t already, you may want to start by reading the original Pulitzer prize-winning novel. Of course, many of us are  already familiar with the story through its famous 1939 film adaption.

It’s also worth mentioning that though Mitchell did not want to write a follow-up to the novel, her estate later authorized two: Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley and Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig (which gives Rhett’s perspective).

Here are more possibilities for all kinds of ways to look at the play.

For More Sweeping Fictional Sagas

Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles. Falsely accused of being a Confederate spy, Adair Colley is thrown into a women’s prison but finds that love can live even in a place of horror and despair. Now an escaped “enemy woman,” Adair makes her long return journey on faith, seeking a home that may be nothing more than a memory.

Cold MountainCold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Inman escapes from a war hospital and begins the long trek back to his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains to be reunited with Ada, the woman he loves. Meanwhile, Ada struggles to survive and save her derelict farm.

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. This epic novel of post-revolutionary Russia (also made into a classic film) follows Yuri Zhivago, physician and poet, as he wrestles with the new order and the anguish of being torn between the love of two women.

Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor. Left pregnant and penniless on the streets of London, Amber St. Clare uses her wits and beauty to climb to the high position of Charles II’s favorite mistress. Frequently compared to Gone with the Wind, Forever Amber was the other great American historical novel, outselling every other book of the 1940s.

For More on the Other Side of Tara

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton. In her early 20s Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and became the first–and only–woman, fugitive slave, and black to work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. After being so successful at it that the state of Maryland put a $40,000 bounty on her head, she went on to be a scout, a spy, and a nurse for the Union Army.

Uncle Tom's CabinUncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Stowe wrote one of the great polemical novels to expose the evils perpetrated by slavery. It galvanized the American public as no other work of fiction has ever done, and as Gone with the Wind notes, it became “second only to the Bible” for many abolitionists.

Red River by Lalita Tademy. Based in part on the author’s family history, this novel shows the struggle of newly freed black Louisianans to make a place for themselves in a country deeply divided in the aftermath of the Civil War. (If you enjoy this book, look for Tademy’s first novel, Cane River, as well.)

For More About the Civil War

Battle Cry of FreedomBattle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson. Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, this book has become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War. A fast-paced narrative packed with drama and insight.

Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust. As the Confederacy crumbled, the prerogatives of whiteness and the protections of “ladyhood” began to dissolve (as Scarlett discovers). Faust chronicles the clash of the old and the new within a group that was both beneficiary and victim of the social order of the Old South.

For More on Its Echoes Today

Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the WindMargaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood by Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley, Jr. This entertaining account of a pop culture phenomenon tells how Mitchell’s book was marketed, distributed, and otherwise groomed for success in the 1930s, and the savvy measures taken since then by the author and her estate to ensure its longevity.

Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz. Inspired by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarked on a search for places and people still enthralled by the “Lost Cause,” and an adventure into the soul of the South.

Stay tuned for more on this partnership as it continues…  and we hope to see you at our programs January 8, 15, and 22!


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