The next show in the Greensboro College theatre season is “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.” This show is a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice,” the classic novel by Jane Austen. This show is directed by the Dean of Arts, David Schram.
Asked why he selected this script, Schram said, “I wanted something to focus on women, but I didn’t want a women-only piece.” As he began to search for the right script, he came across “Miss Bennet.” “I was not familiar with it, I was familiar with her, being the playwright that also did ‘The Book of Will’ and some other things, and so I was intrigued.”
“This story is important because it shows five smart and unique women,” said junior musical theatre major, Mikaela Craft. “It is often said that Jane Austen is meant for everyone, and I feel that we prove that in this show. Each character is treated as a unique and complex human being. When a script does that, especially with a cast made up mostly of women, it is truly a special thing to see.”
“This play is a gift for any Jane Austen fan who ever wondered about what became of the beloved Bennet sisters after the end of ‘Pride and Prejudice!’” said Hannah Hjerth, a junior musical theatre major involved in the production. “It’s a beautiful glimpse into the lives of the sisters and their counterparts two years after, and we finally get to learn more about the sister we knew the least about, Mary!”
Freshman acting major, Jacob Ruddy, described the impact of an audience member’s “Pride and Prejudice” knowledge on their enjoyment of the production: “Knowing ‘Pride and Prejudice’ would definitely help in terms of background information, but I don’t really think it matters too much with the way this show is written and portrayed. It’s just as enjoyable to someone who has no prior knowledge of the characters as it is to a credited ‘Austenite,’ as I’ve heard David call them.”
“I think what’s in there that the Austenites will love are the references to ‘Pride and Prejudice,’” said Schram. “Which is part of the charm of the piece. We can love the characters for the first time, or we can love them all over again if we knew who they were.”
“The story and the characters are timeless,” said the assistant director of the production, Katia Mezey, a senior theatre education major. These characters are being studied thoroughly by the actors portraying them, and this has greatly impacted their view of the process. “I love that we dive deep into the script and look at all of its nuances,” said Noah Kano, a sophomore musical theatre major.
“I really enjoy the professionalism that has gone into this production,” said junior musical theatre major, Lindsey Mead. “Everyone involved in the show has pulled their equal weight, has been willing to fix problems and has brought real joy to the rehearsal process.”
The members of the cast have expressed their delight in being involved in this show and diving into the world of these beloved characters. This has created a connection between the members of the cast. Sophomore musical theatre major, Adora Txakeeyang, described this sense of camaraderie:
“My favorite part about the production has been the forming and strengthening of relationships not only with the characters but with my fellow actors as well. David has done a really great job as our director prompting us and making us think about who our characters are and how they feel towards other characters. This has caused an intimacy between the characters that is much more real. It has also sparked a level of trust and care amongst the actors, and it makes for a really great and smooth working environment.”
“For me, the story of ‘Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley’ is significant in that it teaches us that we needn’t always adhere to people’s expectations,” said Nick Sherbine, a junior acting major in the cast. “Rather, it teaches us to decide for ourselves what we want most out of life and how far we are willing to go to achieve our goals.”
David Schram also mentioned that “‘Pride and Prejudice’ is being done by Triad, the local professional company, in the spring. Hopefully, people will come and see ‘Miss Bennet’ and then want to go see ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to go and see how it all started.” Triad Stage is located at 232 S. Elm St. Greensboro, NC 27401 in downtown Greensboro. “Pride and Prejudice” will run March 22 through April 12, 2020.
“Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly” will be performed in the Huggins Performance Center in Odell Building. The shows will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7-9 and 2 p.m. on Nov. 9-10. Admission is free for students and $10 for community members. Come and fall in love with the beautiful world Jane Austen created that these students are continuing to keep alive!
By Josie Gold