Cedarville’s “Pride and Prejudice” will take the audience a step back in time and make them laugh. The play, written by Jon Jory and directed by Diane Merchant, is showing Jan. 30-Feb. 9.
“It’s really cool to see everybody transform their Cedarville 2014 selves into these characters,” said senior Heather Barker, who plays Mrs. Bennet.
Junior Chandler Hull, the production’s stage manager, likes the humor.
“People may have certain interpretations of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in their minds, but this isn’t like that at all,” Hull said. “I think people will be very excited to see that ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is actually very funny.”
Sophomore Victoria Boward, who plays Charlotte Lucas and Georgiana Darcy, said Jory’s adaptation of the play is written as a comedy.
“Mr. Collins is ridiculously over the top,” said sophomore Madison Hart. “Mrs. Bennet is that overprotective mother that all she can think about is trying to get her kids out of the house.”
For those who are unfamiliar with Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” it’s about a young woman who is content with her life until she finds something that she didn’t think she needed, Hull said.
“With a little bit of comedy here, a little bit of drama there, a little bit of intrigue everywhere,” said David Widder-Varhegyi, a sophomore playing Mr. Darcy.
Hart called the production “engaging” and said her character, Elizabeth Bennet, speaks to the audience at times, rather than to other characters.
“It’s a lot more interactive, and the pacing is a lot quicker,” she said.
The faster pace is because cast members double as stagehands, moving set pieces for scene changes, Boward said.
“It’s really fun as an actor to be part of both sides,” said sophomore Rebecca Levergood.
The simple set, consisting of the stage, pillars and benches, remains constant while the locations characters travel to, such as Longbourn and Pemberley, are defined by different furniture and flying pieces, Hull said.
She said it is unique that the actors do all of the scene changes and the lights do not fade to separate one scene from another, giving the play a continual feel.
“When the director and I had our preliminary meeting and she told me they were going to do that, I had never heard of that before,” Hull said. “It just gives it a very different feel from anything we’ve ever done before here.”
The 17-person cast will tell Jane Austen’s story by keeping true to the Regency era in which the story is set.
Widder-Varhegyi said the cast has studied the 200 year-old dialect, been fit very intensely for costumes and learned proper ways to handle everything from fans to gloves.
“Dancing is as true to form as we could find,” he said.
The costumes will be time-period accurate as well, such as the ladies wearing high-waist dresses, Hart said.
“It’s exciting to bring that piece of historical accuracy to it,” she said. “That gives the play a little bit more credibility.”
Barker said girls of the time period were set up for failure in life if they did not marry, which is why her character tries so hard to marry off her daughters.
Levergood describes her character, Mary Bennet, as unsure of her place in society.
“She’s told all the time she needs a husband, but is not really sure that’s what she wants,” Levergood said. “If (Mary) were here living today, she would probably have five doctorates, be very intelligent and almost be like a feminist.”
Hart said her character, Elizabeth Bennet, has to understand that there’s more to people than what meets the eye.
“If you look closely enough, you can see Christ exemplified in Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship at the end of the play to where the whole story is basically, on some level, an estimation of a proper relationship,” Widder-Varhegyi said. “It’s really cool to see that element even in this secular, romantically ideal play, coming through to where I’m actually learning things from the play that will benefit me in my life.”
Anna Dembowski is a sophomore journalism major and an arts & entertainment writer for Cedars. She likes nearly anything that is the color purple and enjoys spelling the word “agathokakological.”