Classically trained in the English theatre, Jennifer Claire divides her time between homes in Sydney and Bali following a distinguished career that includes 10 years with the Melbourne Theatre Company.
As a young woman traveling from the United States to Australia by ship, she read the printed diaries of Countess Tolstoy, the wife of Count Leo Tolstoy.
Many years later and approaching her sixth decade, Ms. Claire embarked on an ambitious plan to turn the story of Madam Sonya Tolstoy into a stage play. Consuming two years and countless hours of painstaking research, the story of the much-maligned and long-suffering Countess Tolstoy eventually was presented to appreciative audiences in New York and Australia.
Ms. Claire, speaking of her play in an interview published in Australia's The Age, said, "I wanted to be faithful to her words and her passions. I wanted to portray a woman who had borne 13 children, of whom nine lived, and who was great but who also had her faults, as faithfully as I could." Adding, "I had to be ruthless. I had to deal with the old Russia of peasants and serfs and all those difficult Russian names."
Humiliated by Tolstoy in his diaries amd seen in history as a shrew who persecuted a great mind, Ms. Claire's play lends a much more human depiction of a woman otherwise portrayed to the world as a villian. Putting much of the blame for history's treatment of the Countess at Tolstoy's feet, Ms. Claire says, "I don't think he really liked women. I think at heart he was a deep misogynist, which is incredible, really, when you consider that Tolstoy also created one of the most memorable women of all time in Anna Karenina."
A Single Bali Performance
In an evening of rare theatre, Bali visitors and residents will be treated to a performance of "Tolstoyís Wife" presented by its author on Saturday, December 17, 2005, at the Amandari Resort in Ubud.
Ticket at Rp. 200,000 each (approximately US$19.80) include pre-performance cocktails and canapes at 7:00 p.m. followed by the play at 7:30 p.m..
A special after theatre supper is available at The Amandari for an additional charge.
Ms. Jennifer Claire's performance is donated with proceeds going to the Amandari's Kesayan Ikang Papa Orphanage Fund and to asist the surviving family of I Wayan Sudika, who lost his life in the bombing of Rajaís Resraurant in Kuta on October 1, 2005.
Reservations are mandatory and can be made by calling Putu Sudiari at The Amandari at ++62-(0)361-975333 or via the e-mail link provided.
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