FC theatre recreates Jane Austen’s 1813 classic


By Melanie Parrish and Megan Johnson

“Alright ladies and gents, line up for the last dance in the second ball,” said director Amy Harpenau.

Theatre students hastily take their places on the floor. As they disperse and the talking dies down, a countdown of “five, six, seven, eight” is given and classical music begins to play.

Pride and Prejudice is a play set in the early 1800’s about a young woman whose strong willed intentions clash with the surrounding beliefs of others.

“I think the sort of strict boundaries of this time period go along with relations between characters, because if somebody dances with the same girl twice, then it’s like ‘oh, well we’re expecting a marriage proposal now’,” said junior Chelsea Balmer, who plays Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

Pride and Prejudice is a novel originally written by Jane Austen. The book created the basis for the play later written by Jon Jory. Within this play, there are several themes: romance, independence, responsibility, and of course, pride and prejudice.

A major theme within both the play and the book  is justified within the first lines, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

However, in order for these themes to be shown thoroughly, they must have actors who are able to naturally display them.

“When we choose a student for a role, we’re looking at the character qualities as a person and as an actor,” said Harpenau. “Actors are more than just what is written on a page.”

Director Amy Harpenau coaches senior Savannah Wormley and sophomore Ashley Denny. Photo by Megan Johnson.
Director Amy Harpenau coaches senior Savannah Wormley and sophomore Ashley Denny. Photo by Megan Johnson.“Actors are more than just what is written on a page.”

The play is defined as a “satire,” meaning comical ridicule is used to show the indirect problems within the plot. As the play is a satire, actors must be able to act in a comical manner, yet still channel the true emotion of their character.

“I try to think about the character’s mental status,” explained Balmer. “I try to think, ‘how does that affect their thinking and their feeling?’”

Though the specifics of stage design have not been released yet, there will be a new addition.

“It will include an extension of the stage, allowing the actors to be closer to the audience,” said theatrical arts teacher Robbie Steiner.

“Hopefully the design doesn’t stick out; I want the audience’s focus to be more towards the students.”

Pride and Prejudice will be showing April 25, 26, 27 at 7:30 p.m. and April 26, 27 at 2 p.m.

“With such a range of characters, you are bound to find someone that you like. There’s a lot of great banter between the characters, so it’s fun, but there’s also a really good underlying message.”

 

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