Pride and Prejudice

June 28, 2019

in Plays

Play (2017)
by Kate Hamill
Adapted from the novel by Jane Austen
Directed by Christopher V. Edwards

Actors Shakespeare Project
Balch Arena Theater
Tufts University, Medford, MA
June 5-28, 2019

With Lydia Barnett-Mulligan (Lizzy), Anna Bortnick (Lydia, Lady Catherine), Gabriel Kuttner (Mr. Bennet, Charlotte Lucas), Zoe Laiz (Jane, Miss De Bourgh), Doug Lockwood (Wicham, Mr. Collins, Miss Gingley), Louis Reyes McWilliams (Mr. Bingley, Mary), Omar Robinson (Mr. Darcy), Mara Sidmore (Mrs. Bennet)

Omar Robinson as Mr. Darcy,Lydia Barnett-Mulligan as Lizzy in 'Pride and Prejudice'

Omar Robinson as Mr. Darcy
Lydia Barnett-Mulligan as Lizzy
in “Pride and Prejudice”
Photo: Nile Scott Studios
Courtesy of Actors Shakespeare Project

A dramatized version of the famous satire, set in late eighteenth century England, about romantic fulfillment.

Lizzy Bennitt (Lydia Barnett-Mulligan) and her sisters are slated to get husbands and most of the sisters want them. Lizzy has a harder edge, is fiercely independent and resistant, and says resolutely that she doesn’t want a mate. Along comes Mr. Darcy (Omar Robinson), a stiff and formal rich guy, and the two spar continuously. Meanwhile, Jane (Zoe Laiz), Lizzy’s older, beautiful but monosyllabic, sister, has trouble expressing her affections for Bingley (Louis Reyes McWilliams). The youngest sister, Lydia (Anna Bortnick), through her own flirtatiousness, gets in deeper with some old, familiar connections than everyone bargained for.

Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a subtle satire which makes its gentle humor radiate throughout. The current production, notably in its first half, is conceived as a farce, which supplants that subtle humor with a kind of raucous intensity which suppresses the subtlety almost entirely.

In that first half, all sorts of histrionics embellish this carnival-like sense. Several men play women in an obviously ridiculous way. The girls’ mother, Mrs. Bennet (Mara Sidmore) is done so over the top it’s more pantomime than drama. And there are pseudo-military routines to ridicule the enforcement of the martial-seeking disciplines.

After this very rowdy and unfeeling first half, the second half, remarkably, turns to real acting and the rewards of this production show themselves significantly. Without trying so hard to be cute and funny, and by allowing Omar Robinson as Darcy and Lydia Barnett Mulligan as Lizzy to do their dramatic work, the real power and intensity of the production shows its face. The two performances by Robinson and Mulligan vividly demonstrate strong control of the characters in that second half; it’s so effective and moving that one only wishes that the production had allowed this sort of thing throughout.

As the father of all the girls, Gabriel Kuttner (Mr. Bennet) does a great job, and seems, at times, as though he channels the beautiful performance by Donald Sutherland in the 2005 film adaptation.

As Mr. Collins, the most ridiculous suitor, Doug Lockwood is hilarious.

Anna Bortnick transforms herself marvelously between Lydia, the youngest sister, and Lady Catherine, Darcy’s aunt, which she plays broadly, exuberantly, and very amusingly.

– BADMan

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: