A compelling adaptation of the Jane Austen novel
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a beloved part of the English literature canon now, but when it was published in 1813, the book was pop contemporary fiction about love, class, marriage, money, social customs, dances—the heavy-hitting issues of the day.
The story’s heroine is Elizabeth Bennet, second of the Bennet family’s five unmarried daughters. They’re not particularly well-off, and Mrs. Bennet is desperate to get all the girls married—and at least one of them wealthily so—so that they’re taken care of when their parents die.
When a rich man named Bingley moves in near their home in rural England, he falls for the oldest daughter Jane and she for him, but he’s soon convinced by his snotty sister that Jane’s beneath his station. Bingley’s surly and even richer friend Mr. Darcy comes to visit and meets Elizabeth at a dance. At first, they hate each other. But, of course, both these couples end up together, the two happy pairings just a slice of the novel’s social intrigues and matches made and broken.
I’m skeptical when an adaptation of any classic work is described as “familiar yet surprisingly modern,” and I would be now were Pride and Prejudice not being adapted by playwright Kate Hamill. Hamill is the brilliant language- and context-bender behind Bedlam Theatre Company’s inspired 2016 off-Broadway production of Austen’s Sense & Sensibility. With inventive stagecraft—that low-tech, DIY theatre magic—important moments can be expanded and emotions animated, lending an urgency to every moment of a high-energy production.
The cast of Hamill’s adaptation was still officially under wraps as of this writing, but trust me when I say you won’t be disappointed with the lineup of talented players, both local and visiting.
Pride and Prejudice
Sept. 29 – Oct. 29
Seattle Repertory Theatre