One of Jane Austen’s most popular novels, “Pride & Prejudice,” comes to life at Saint Viator High School. The show takes place at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17, 18 and 19, and at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 20. Tickets are $5 at the door.
Though written more than 200 years ago, the story of the spirited Bennett sisters and their quest to find husbands --- including the pert Elizabeth and her sparring partner, Mr. Darcy --- continue to resonate with students and audiences alike.
“It cleverly explores themes as relevant today as they were in 1815: marriage, wealth, class, courtship and the proper behavior of young people,” says Director Kate Costello, who has adapted and simplified the play to emphasize its comedy as well as social commentary and romance.
Senior Chris Sevilla shares the role of Mr. Darcy with senior Stefano Lazni. He is enjoying developing the characterization for Darcy, and his changing emotions through the course of the play.
“In the first act, he’s reserved and sees himself above the Bennett family,” Chris says, “but he softens in the second act, once he and Elizabeth find common ground and find they share the same values.”
Junior Austin Jones has sunk his teeth into playing the story’s main antagonist, George Wickham, the military officer who tries to woo several of the Bennett sisters.
“It’s almost fun to play a villain,” says Austin, who shares the role with sophomore Christopher Rapala. “I get to be melodramatic, sly and crafty. I’m really enjoying exploring just what I can do.”
Austin, like many of his classmates, has worked hard to nail a British accent for the show, not just to set the time period, but to get themselves into character.
“I’m always conscious of it,” Austin says, “but it’s fun to be an officer, and put on a uniform, top hat and cane. It just adds to becoming the character.”
His classmate, junior Alex Di Marco, plays the youngest sister, Lydia, who ends up running away with Wickham. She had no problem mastering the accent, she says.
“I love doing accents,” says Alex, who shares the role with Erin Cavender. “It’s super fun. And when you put on the costume and talk in a different voice, it just helps you channel your character.”
Costello says that although the times and social etiquette have changed dramatically, many of the characters still ring true today.
“The women in this play are strong, freethinking, intelligent women and men are drawn to them for their minds as well as their looks,” Costello says. “Some characters are gold-diggers, social climbers and gossips, and they provide the basis for much of the comedy.
“But in the end,” she adds, “it is the daughters who have their own ideas about determining their futures.”