Everyone vaguely interested in books knows of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” the classic 19th Century English novel. Perennially popular, it has been made into several films and TV mini-series, and is regularly assigned in schools.
In 2009, a stage version was adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan. This will be the 2011-12 season-opening production at South Coast Repertory, beginning tomorrow.
This fast-moving play is directed by Kyle Donnelly and incorporates two turntables for quick scene changes and video projections which take audiences to the splendid mansions and gorgeous gardens of 1800s England. Because the story is often first encountered in high school, Donnelly has come up with a unique framing device that will allow audiences to see the story through the eyes of a 15-year-old girl reading the novel for the first time.
As many know, the plot follows a headstrong young girl , Elizabeth, and her encounter with gruff, handsome Darcy. Stubborn pride and family keep them apart. The reader, and audiences are caught up in the question of whether or not they come together as lovers.
As the two young people’s problems increase, Elizabeth’s family’s efforts to get her four sisters married adds comedy and confusion to the proceedings. Dana Green (last season in SCR’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) stars as lively, headstrong Elizabeth. Darcy is played by Corey Brill (‘‘Cabaret” national tour).
Rounding out the cast, Jane Carr (Broadway’s Mary Poppins) plays Elizabeth’s discombobulated mother, and Randy Oglesby (SCR’s Ridiculous Fraud) is her long-suffering father. SCR regular Kandis Chappell (Collected Stories) stars as Mr. Darcy’s formidable aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
“Pride and Prejudice plays on Segerstrom Stage through Oct. 9. Meanwhile, on SCR’s more intimate Julianne Argyros Stage, the world premiere of “How the World Began,” by Catherine Trieschmann, opens Sept. 25.
The provocative play, directed by Daniella Topol, takes place in Plainview, Kansas. This is Bible Belt country, and high school biology teacher Susan Pierce thinks she knows the score. A transplant from Manhattan, she arrived here with a desire to start a new life and a willingness to help out in the aftermath of a devastating tornado.
She tries to tread carefully in this new environment, but sometimes things come out of her mouth willy nilly, such as an offhanded comment in her biology class about the origins of life. However, this point questions the beliefs to folks in Plainview. They get up in arms about that kind of thing, and the fireworks start. Th production continues through Oct. 16.