From the page to the stage: Classic novel enlivened by dance

"The House of Mirth" inspires Brandeis Theater Company innovative dance theater

“Tea and Flowers, Purity and Grace”
A dance play based on Edith Wharton’s “The House of Mirth”
Created and choreographed by Susan Dibble 
Nov. 20-23
Mainstage Theater

WALTHAM, Mass. – A classic 1905 novel written by novelist Edith Wharton will be reinvented this fall, as theSusan Dibble Brandeis Theater Company adapts literature to the stage through dance.

Edith Wharton’s novel “The House of Mirth” is the inspiration for the dance play “Tea and Flowers, Purity and Grace,” beginning on Nov. 20.  Young Lily Bart and her ambitions are at the center of the story, as adapted, created and choreographed by Susan Dibble, the Louis, Frances and Jeffrey Sachar Professor of Creative Arts. The performance will feature professional actors Nigel Gore and Merry Conway, as well as Brandeis students.

“Society is a revolving body,” Wharton wrote, and the characters of her pages come to life in this Tableaux Vivant-inspired work of 24 dances. Guided by a narrator (Gore), the production combines dance, movement and music ranging from Chopin and Satie to Ragtime and Laurie Anderson directed by Dibble, an acclaimed dancer and choreographer. 

“Edith Wharton gives beautiful direction and imagery to work with,” Dibble said. “I am focusing on human frailty and nobility and my dances are about people, animals, nature, hope and survival. Her book has given me a beautifully guided map of movement. I am working with actors, dancers and designers who bring life to Wharton's characters.”

The New York Times labeled the original publication of “The House of Mirth” as “a novel of remarkable power.” Socialite Lily Bart brings her beauty, ambition and cunning to bear on her attempt to climb New York’s social ladder by arranging an advantageous marriage for herself, as is expected by custom and society. However, all of her efforts are thwarted by her own desire for a life of luxury and greed.
*Media note: Performances are open for previews and features, but not for review.

About the Brandeis Theater Company
Created in 2005, the Brandeis Theater Company is a model for training theater artists that is unique in the Boston area. The company is an ensemble of students, guest artists, faculty and staff of the Theater Arts Department committed to producing progressive, dynamic programming.

Location and Tickets
Brandeis Theater Company productions are performed in the intimate theaters of the Spingold Theater Center, located on the Brandeis University campus at 415 South St. in Waltham, Mass. Tickets are available at the box office or by calling 781-736-3400, option #5. For directions and more information, visit Single tickets are on sale now via Internet Ticketing at

Performance Schedule/Prices
Thursday at 8pm - $18
Friday at 8pm - $20
Saturday Matinee at 2pm - $18
Saturday at 8pm - $20
Sunday Matinee at 2pm - $20

Image: Susan Dibble (Mike Lovett) 

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