'Pride and Prejudice' lucious for the eyes, but the production drags in spots
Pride and Prejudice Grade: B-
Not having seen the six-hour movie or read any of Jane Austen's books, I was not sure what to expect. Marriage is the underlying theme throughout the theater production, which has a running time of three hours, with one intermission.
The Bennet family consists of five daughters and no sons. The mother of the family, Mrs. Bennet, was brilliantly played by Wendi Hassan. An outflow of energy burst on the stage whenever she was acting in a scene. I found myself looking forward to what she would say or outrageously do next.
The family fortune will pass to a cousin unless one of the five daughters ensures the family's inheritance by getting married. Mrs. Bennet carries a great fear that none of her daughters will marry, which as a result, the family would be leaving the family home.
Reality steps in as each daughter acts on her own wants and needs when marriage is an issue. The best performance of demonstrating her procrastination to marriage is by Vanessa Ballam Brenchley, who plays Elizabeth Bennet.
By the second act, the play comes alive and the audience is more warmed up to the plot and the actors. Scene by scene, the plot reveals itself and result is who marries and who does not. For this reason alone, whether you're an advocate for marriage or avoding the issue for as long as possible, everyone in the audience will be able to relate to at least one of the characters.
Another powerful performance was that of Cassandra E. Orr, who plays Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Her costume carries that of which the character she plays: a bold and wealthy woman.
The music played in the background made if difficult to hear the actors. Pride and Prejudice had an abundance of characters, that were often on the stage at the same time. This sometimes made it difficult to find a focal point on the stage.
A few minor changes could really give the people who are too proud to see a Jane Austen story, the credit this USU Theatre production deserves.
Overall, I fell in the love with the production the same time some of the characters fall in love with each other. After it was over, I had realized the production is a lot like falling in love. At first, you fear to go watch a production adapted from a Jane Austin novel, because you fear you may actually like it. Then once you consider giving it a chance, you realize when it's all said and done, that you enjoyed it all along.
I were to give it a grade, I'd give it a B-, but I can almost guarantee by the final night of the show it will have deserved an A.
Pride and Prejudice will be showing at 7:30 p.m. in the Morgan Theater, USU Chase Fine Arts Center. The shows will be Saturday, and Feb. 28, March 1-3. Ticket prices are $8 for adults, $6 for USU faculty and staff, and senior citizens, $5 for youth ages 6 to 18 and free to USU students with student ID. Children under age 6 will not be admitted. Tickets can be purchased through the USU ticket office, either in person or by calling 797-0305.