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Romance Is in the Air: Pride and Prejudice at CTE

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The spring season at the Conservatory Theatre Ensemble is off to a running start with a trip back to the era of balls, bows, and beaus with CTE/TAM drama’s presentation of Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice, opening March 5 and closing March 9.

The script of Pride and Prejudice, adapted by Jon Jory, is a streamlined telling of Austen’s best-loved, wildly romantic novel. Audiences will spend their evening transported back to the early 1800’s England with the Bennets, the Bingleys, the Darcys, and the rest of Meryton.

Under the skilled direction of Susan Brashear (Our Town, The American Dream, The Diary of Anne Frank), one of CTE’s co-program directors, talented student actors and creative designers from advanced drama will create the ingredients to take you back 200 years to the “Regency Era” when Jane Austen lived and wrote her entertaining and insightful novels.

The well-known and beloved story follows the middle-class Bennet family during a year of their lives at the family home, Longbourn, in the English countryside. The audience will be endlessly entertained by the Bennet’s loving, playful and at times, ridiculous behavior.

We see the lengths that excitable Mrs. Bennet will go as she attempts to assure marriages for her five daughters to the most eligible young bachelors in Hertfordshire. We sigh with shy Jane, the eldest, as she falls deeply in love with the adorable Mr. Bingley, and he with her, though he belongs in the world of upper class society beyond her station in life. We watch, with growing frustration, as the stubborn Lizzy fights her unexpected attraction to the dashing Mr. Darcy, who seems too proud and distant.

We enjoy the silliness of the studious sister, Mary, the impressionable Kitty, and the spirited youngest, Lydia who finds herself carried away by her flirtations. We observe Mr. Bennet as he struggles to maintain his wry humor in a houseful of women, especially when faced with the absurdity of Parson Collins who is looking for a wife from among his daughters. And yet, through all their ups and downs, the Bennets remain as united as ever with good-natured warmth that only a genuine familial love can bestow.

Through the rehearsal process, CTE’s actors are experiencing a different acting process to enter the world of the play. With the help of Susan’s thorough instruction, they have studied how life was lived 200 years ago with research that encompasses speech patterns, etiquette and manners, customs, diet, education, and everything in between. “Working on P&P is different than simply working on a modern day show – it requires specific instruction on how to accurately portray the time period,” says Jessie Fontana-Maisel, who plays the force-to-be-reckoned-with Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

“Learning how to appropriately curtsey, stand, address your peers, and even use your fan are key to helping the audience be truly convinced that it’s the early 19th century.”

Meanwhile, student designers have created the look and atmosphere that guides the audience into Jane Austen’s time: a world filled with empire waist gowns, classic architecture, lively music and upbeat country dances.

As a collaborative ensemble, the designers and actors in Pride and Prejudice have created an experience that is truly one of a kind.

The 411: Pride and Prejudice opens on Monday, March 5 and plays through Friday, March 9 at the Caldwell Theatre, located at the back of Tam’s campus. Tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens and $12 for adults. CTE’s box office opens at 6:00 pm on the day of each performance for same-day tickets. Advance tickets can be purchased online at www.ctetam.org/tickets up to 8 hours before the performances. House doors open at 6:30pm. Seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The show begins promptly at 7:00 pm.

This article previously appeared in the Tam Family newsletter and was written by Samantha Emory, the Student Public Relations Manager.

Cast:

Ben Beecroft as Mr. Bennet
Marisa MacDonald as Mrs. Bennet
Caroline Fearon as Jane Bennet
Sami Emory as Elizabeth Bennet
Lizzie Benson as Lydia Bennet
Devon Barone as Mary Bennet & Charlotte Lucas
Glyn Peterson as Kitty Bennet & Georgiana Darcy
Joe Weber as Mr. Darcy
Trevor Williams as Mr. Bingley
Mia Anderson as Caroline Bingley & Housemaid
Dylan Glave as Sir William Lucas & Colonel Fitzwilliam
Lydia Norby-Adams as Lady Lucas & Mrs. Gardiner
Brennan Latimer as Mr. Gardiner
Morgan Hill as Mr. Collins
Jessie Fontana-Maisel as Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Tucker Nichols as Lt. George Wickham

Designers + Crew:

Lily Rosenzweig – Stage Manager
Cade Burkett – Stage Manager
Madeline Matej – Costume Designer
Jon Demegillo – Light Designer
Julia Atkin – Sound Designer
Vivian Bi – Prop Designer
Conner Crockett – Scenic Designer

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