There is a particular treat to be had for those attending the matinee performances of Jane Austen and the Waterman on 22nd October – the backing music, performed live, will be played on an old piano.
But not just any old piano. In channelling Marks and Spencer, we must add that this is a Square piano made in England in 1806. It will create a reliable backdrop to the period the play is set, and it will sound authentic – because it is.
The piano in question, a Webler Square Pianoforte, comes to SO: To Speak courtesy of Professor David Owen Norris of Southampton University’s Music Department. The square piano – as a product – has a short history in England, being produced for just 100 years here between 1766 – 1866.
When you put this together with the fact the play will take place in the very room Jane Austen danced in when she lived in Southampton for 3 years, it adds up to something remarkable. We often talk about stepping back in time – join us on 22nd October and you will be doing just that.
Jane Austen and the Waterman stars Downton Abbey’s Cathy Sara and comic Mervyn Stutter, and will be performed at 2pm and 4pm on Sunday 22nd October at The Dolphin Hotel.
By Charlie Place