A Noise Within Brings Modern Urgency to Dickens’ Classic ‘A Tale of Two Cities’

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens wrote to open his novel “A Tale of Two Cities.” The era of the French Revolution was an age of wisdom and foolishness, the epoch of belief and incredulity. It was the season of light, darkness, hope and despair. A Noise Within will open their 2017-18 season with Tony nominee Michael Poulton’s adaptation of the Dickens classic “A Tale of Two Cities.” The production is being directed by co-producing artistic directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott. The U.S. premiere of this adaptation will run from Sept. 3 through Nov. 19.

“A Tale of Two Cities,” written in 1859, is the second bestselling novel all time, after “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes. The Dickens classic tells the story of French Doctor Manette’s 18-year-long imprisonment in the Bastille during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror. The French Revolution ended when King Louis XVI of France was beheaded at Place de la Concorde, in Paris on Jan. 21, 1793. The new version brings a modern urgency to the proceedings.

“It’s like speed reading Dickens by flickering candlelight,” The Guardian wrote in in its review of the original 2014 production.

“This bold, fast-paced adaptation deftly streamlines Dickens’ epic story into a taut political thriller, giving a new sense of urgency to the intertwined fates of two men at the bloody, turbulent end of the French Revolution,” reads the official synopsis. “Poulton delivers a roller coaster ride of romance and adventure that still embodies the rich characterizations and eloquent language of the original novel.”

Poulton “breathed new life into the classic novel, a taut political thriller that feels so immediate, so exciting, so theatrical, and so wonderfully alive for audiences,” Julia Rodriguez-Elliott told Pasadena Now.

“’A Tale of Two Cities’ is about people whose acts of courage make the world a better place. And in that way, this play couldn’t be more timely,” Geoff Elliot told Pasadena Now. “We are a nation in shock; there is a sense of perplexing numbness not only here in our country, but across the planet. Tale gives us that salve, showing us that even among the hopeless and the disenfranchised, there are still ways we can positively influence each other’s lives.”

Dr. Manette will be played by Nicholas Hormann in the production. Kasey Mahaffy plays Attorney General/DeFarge/Gabelle. Frederick Stuart plays Sydney Carton. The cast also features Geoff Elliott as Judge/Marquis/Jerry Cruncher, Emily Goss as Lucie Manette, Trisha Miller as Miss Pross/Jenny Herring, Abby Craden as Madame Defarge/Mrs. Keating, Michael Stone Forrest as Mr. Lorry/Coachman, Michael Uribes as Barsad/Peasant Father/French Aristocrat/Citizen, Tavis Doucette as Charles Darnay, Jeremy Rabb as Mr. Stryver/French Aristocrat/President.

A Noise Within’s production of “A Tale of Two Cities” runs from Sept. 3 through Nov. 19.