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Pride & Prejudice

a Drama w/ Comedy & Music
CATEGORY :
by Jane Austin

COMPANY : Alliance Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Woodruff Art Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 1483

SHOWING : January 11, 2006 - February 12, 2006

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Long before "The Rules", "Sex and the City" or "Desperate Housewives", there was the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. She finds him gorgeous, wealthy and totally obnoxious. He thinks she is opinionated, sassy and totally forgettable. They are clearly made for each other! You'll laugh and cry in this touching and surprisingly modern look at the battle of the sexes based on the novel by Jane Austen.


CAST & CREW LIST
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REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

In Which the Pseudo-Critic Sojourns in Austenshire
by Dedalus
Friday, January 27, 2006
4.0
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a pseudo-critic in possession of no particular insight, must be in want of a forum from which to pontificate.

It is in this spirit that I plan to go on at length about the Alliance Theatre’s current foray into Austenshire, Pride and Prejudice,” a typically Austenian exercise in Austenesque wit, shallow when viewed idly, yet still possessing a deceptively perceptive (dare I say “Austentive?”) insight into the trivialities that make us human, an insight not at all diminished by nearly two hundred years of history, cynicism, and senses skewed by the thoughtlessly concise nature of fiction and the even more thoughtless banalities of popular culture, a culture Ms. Austen’s very human characters would find as alien as we find hers recognizable.

It is a also truth universally acknowledged, that a play in possession of a running time greater than 90 minutes, must be in want of a favorable notice from the AJC’s expert on no things theatrical, Mr. Brock. But, I digress ...

Lead by Julia Dion and Anthony Marble, Ms. Austen’s interpreters skillfully wove a narrative tapestry of vivid color, energy, and style. Adapter/Director Jon Jory also found the singular key required to bring this slice of Austenia to memorable life. With a unit set that worked as both interior and exterior backdrop, the cast and director and design team synergized a story that played out in the mind’s eye as clearly as anything on the printed page, allowing us free rein of those imaginative faculties dimmed by too many years of visual narrative; our mental picture is always more meaningful than any devised by a Hollywood (or London) Art Director, a truth thankfully acknowledged by the entire production team.

To state that I loved this production and give it my (almost) highest recommendation is to overstate the obvious. To exemplify my reasons, I need only point to the performance of Mr. Marble as Darcy. In other adaptations, as Elizabeth Bennet’s prejudice metamorphoses into a far tenderer regard, Darcy portrayers softened the pride, the reserve, so truthful to this character as conceived. Mr. Marble, contrariwise, chose to remain proud, almost wooden in his reserve, a choice apparently nor appreciated by a previous commentator on this forum. Why I found this choice particularly affecting was the way it made the ending soar. Here, finally, we see a Darcy not transformed by “the power of love,” but a Darcy who is afforded the same respect previously reserved for Elizabeth Bennet portrayers – the consideration to remain true to himself, to be loved for who he is (Pride and all), and not for some post-Regency projection of a contemporary actor. And, for myself at least, it makes the final embrace, the final kiss, infinitely more moving, more affecting, and (dare I say it?) more hot. Here was an Elizabeth and Darcy whose simmering attraction was always apparent, who were allowed to keep their Austenian Pride and Prejudice intact, and who were therefore truer to their time and source than any I have seen to this date.

I have quibbles with the production; however, I deem them all to be based solely on my own diminished state of mind, and, in the name of vanity, I choose to leave them unstated. I too have my own Pride. And, being a Jane Austen fan, I have my own Prejudices in regard to adaptations of her work. My final hope is that you, ever sensible to my warmest sentiments towards these artisans of the stage, will also sojourn in Austenshire and unite in my praise of the stay.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)



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Boy! You got a purdy mouth! by line!
Sorry Brad, I just couldn't pass that up!
Gosh by Dedalus
Well, Gosh, Missa Rial, you do say the nicest things to a feller. I'll keep it a secret from the Missus ....
Wonderful, just wonderful
by tylers
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
4.0
Last night I ventured ITP to see the Alliance Theater's production of "Pride & Prejudice." I am certainly glad I did. I know this type of show is not for everyone but I must say I think this might be a "high brow" that can also "entertain the masses."

To begin:

The Set- I am not sure how much imput the director, Jon Jory, had with this but who ever made the decision I loved it. The set was a very simple one. They had a three story building facade up stage. On the ground floor there were three different door ways and above each a window at each floor that could be opened and closed for effect. The windows were also used for "cameos" of actors being spoken about during exposition. Stage right an entrance with a balcony, left another balcony but with a spiral staircase. All the set pieces were versitile enough to serve as several different locations. This style of "less is more" when it comes to a set is one that I personally like to work with when I am directing.

Now on to the good stuff...

The Bennet Family- I found this group to be a nice ensemble to accompany Elizabeth during her trials with Mr. Darcy. The stand-outs to me were the mother and father.

Ma & PA - While at times Dad reminded me of Henry Higgins and Mom of Mrs. Potts they were still a good match. The fathers VPS was clearly crafted and something I have no doubt he has spent many an hour perfecting.

Jane- The oldest daughter, gave a beautiful performance. Her fear in becoming and old maid was organic and clearly portrayed. The only problem I had with this young lady was the horrific wig, at least I pray to god it was, that she was forced to wear. If Helen of Troy's hair and road kill had a baby together... it would have been that wig.

The only problem I had with any of the family member's actual acting was with the youngest daughter, Kitty I believe. She had wonderful energy but she was a touch to modern with her physicality and use of language delievery for me. It wasn't distracting but just a little "out of place" with the others she shared the stage with.

The Ensemble- Loved them. Even though I knew that many of them were playing several different speaking roles they all made such clear character choices that it was no problem at all. The stand-out here to me was the guy who played the Parson and then doubled as the Uncle. His physical transformation between characters was a pleasure to watch.

Now onto the Principals-

Elizabeth Bennet- Well well well, this young woman understands what "Stage Craft" means. She created a character that was not only a strong woman but was also able to show her underbelly as well. Her VPS was un-freaking-believeable. The sexual tension between her and Mr. Wickam and then Mr. Darcy, evident. The scene at the begining of Act 2 with Wickam was so good, uncomfortable for Wickam, it had me shifting in my seat out of simpathy.

Mr. Darcy- This is were things kinda didn't work for me. He was very vanilla. I didn't dislike his performance but it wasn't anything to write home about. This character is all about buttoned up sexual tension. The actor played it as just stiff and unable to communicate with others. When he was going about professing his love to Elizabeth it wasn't quite like reading out of a phone book, but not to far off. Maybe that is a bit harsh... it was more like a business proposition. While for the period this might not have been a bad choice the whole point of the character is to make the wrong choice in marriage and go for love.

The only reason I didn't rate this show a 5 if mostly due to technical issues that the actors having nothing to do with. If you want to see a great show with high energy and almost Wilde like transitions go down to Woodruff and check this one out. It has set a high bar for the rest of my theater viewing year.

Tyler Schaker





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A Digression by Dedalus
I agree with you you for the most part. I really really liked the choices made by Darcy. I'll have a full review posted soon, if I ever get happy with my Austen parody (I'm up to the 4th draft -- maybe it's time to just abandon and post).

To digress a bit, I was watching an Ozu movie last week and had a weird thought. His domestic dramas from the 50's were all about marrying off daughters -- the only difference between his work and Austen's is that the marriage at the end was usually the least happy choice for all the characters. Still, it may be interesting to see an Ozu-esque Japanese reading of "Pride and Prejudice" some time (Hey, it's been "Bollywood-ized," so why not?).

Just a thought ....

Brad
Reasoning by tylers
Yo Brad,

First off I would love to read one of your drafts. Second I think I know why we dissagree on the Mr.Darcy character. Those of us that had four tickets to the show (got them through work) and couldn't find ANYONE to go with them and then had to come home after the show to an empty house, with the exception of Damn Cat, want to see the Sappy, cheese covered, "I am blinded by me passion for you and am willing to shun what society says or thinks simply because I love you..." DAMN IT! Thank god I had some cookie dough in my fridge when I got home... it could have gotten REALLY REALLY ugly! Seriously though I get what you are saying about the character, I am just a sucker for the sappy "warm & fuzzy" stuff.

Tyler Schaker
It Doesn't Make You a Bad Person by Dedalus
Tyler --

Normally, I also love those those types of throw-everything-to-the winds endings myself. I have no idea why I found this time, the reserved approach left me so ... well, let's just say I'm glad the spouse was awake when I got home. I guess all I can do is mumble, why ask why?

BTW, I do regret not coining the word "Austentatious" in my parody. So Many Puns ... So Many Missed Opportunities .....

Brad


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