FringeTastic: Help Jane Austen

By Serra Akyuz
11th Grade, Staten Island Academy

Help Jane Austen Write the Next Young Adult Novel is a whimsical, audience incorporated show that creates a masterpiece of wacky ideas from a room full of strangers. The actors then manifest this “book idea” through an unrehearsed and unplanned improvisational performance. Jane Austen seems to be in dire need of help in the 21st Century – her slow-paced, conservative, and suspense-deprived books aren’t as popular as they once were. Her Literary Agent and his intern ask the audience to pitch ideas that might help Jane adjust to the new action-packed, unsophisticated, superficial book/film era. The crowd inadvertently suggests overplayed concepts for Jane Austen to write about, which highlights the clichéd, recycled ideas currently seen in Hollywood. This helps to prove the actors’ point – Jane Austen’s seasoned and subtle writing style, technique, and concepts are underappreciated in this new generation. Not that this stops the actors from performing the story – they crack up the audience as they improvise. Come prepared with ideas to pitch and be ready to laugh while you Help Jane Austen Write the Next Young Adult Novel. website