As the lights illuminated the stage and the actors scurried to their places, the audience anticipated something inspiring. This semester’s play, Pride and Prejudice, hopes to rewrite how we know this classic story.
Each semester, John Brown University’s drama department puts on a play or musical. Students transform themselves into characters in the play to give the audience a new light to an old story.
“Pride and Prejudice has long been one of my favorite books,” said play director Jan Lauderdale. She searched for months for the right adaptation of the play. She finally found one that she believes will keep things interesting for the audience as well as remain true to the feel of the Regency time period.
Mr. Darcy, the troubled yet beloved male protagonist, will be played by senior Alec Warn. Warn started doing plays when he was in middle school after seeing his first Broadway show, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.
“I liked the fact that it is a team,” Warn said.
Warn loves working with the cast and growing in his own abilities as an actor by learning from his fellow cast mates.
Olivia Rollene, who will be playing Caroline Bingley, hopes that even if people know the story, they will see it in a new light.
“People are going to have expectations,” said Rollene, “but none of us are the actors themselves and so it is going to look different.” Lauderdale challenged the actors to create their own characters.
“I hope that people would watch it and become invested in it with us and feel the things that we are feeling and the emotions that we trying to portray,” said Rollene.
The students have spent hours studying their characters and learning from them in order to portray them in the best light on the stage. Warn feels that his character of Mr. Darcy can teach everyone that what you first see of someone isn’t always who they are. “I would like them to see the more human side instead of the novel side of the story,” said Warn.
From learning several classic ballroom dances, to creating intricate costumes and to learning the lines from one of the most poetic time periods in history, this year’s crew has been working hard to make this semester’s play one to remember.
“As you can tell, there is much to pull together for this production, all within a very short rehearsal schedule of five weeks. But the cast and crew are rising to the challenge, and we are excited to present the final product to audiences for the next two weekends,” said Lauderdale.
The play will be held in the Berry Performing Arts Center during Family Weekend, February 20-21, and the following weekend, February 27-28. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.jbu.edu/tickets.