Pride and Prejudice
at Annapolis

Reviewed on November 16, 2013

NameSchoolPublication/Broadcasts
Franklin
Franklin
Franklin



Miranda Morris
Franklin

Submitted for publication to

A timeless romantic comedy and social satire was refreshed and reimagined by Annapolis High School’s "Pride and Prejudice." The classic love story, written by Jane Austen and published in 1813, was adapted by Jon Jory into a stage production. Film, television, and Jory’s stage adaptation all featured the classic nineteenth century styled backdrop, just as it was written in Austen’s book. Annapolis High School raised the bar, changing the traditional 1800s time period to that of the roaring twenties. Influenced by Rhapsody in Blue and the resurfaced popular phenomenon, "The Great Gatsby," AHS filled the stage with classic characters embellished with dazzling flapper wardrobes dancing away the Charleston.

"Pride and Prejudice" follows the evolution of Elizabeth Bennet (Amanda Hurt), a witty and self-assured young woman who ends up falling in love with the man whom she originally declared to be the most arrogant and proud man she has ever met. Elizabeth’s (Hurt) charming opposition to the social norms of society was well-received and elegantly portrayed. She and Mr. Darcy (Jack Venton) maintained the strongest connection in the show, building the tension with each encounter. Mr. Darcy’s (Venton) quiet confidence rejuvenated the show’s energy every time he entered a scene. The moments between him and Elizabeth (Hurt) proved the most riveting and captivating throughout the production.

"Pride and Prejudice" periodically broke the fourth wall, beginning and ending with narration from each member of the Bennet family. This provided individuals, such as cigar-smoking family patriarch Mr. Bennet (Jonas Pallaro-Sonneborn) and flirty young Lydia Bennet (Hannah Rice), the opportunity to showcase their comedic characters. Jane (Allia Scruggs), the eldest sister of the Bennet clan, possessed a notably consistent character. Jane (Scruggs) as well as Mr. Bingley (Logan Kelly) hit their stride in their final scene, spurring laughter and warm feelings among the audience.

"Pride and Prejudice" pleasantly surprised the audience with several well-choreographed numbers (provided by Hannah Rice and Madeline McArdle), featuring the Charleston in addition to romantic ballroom dances. The show’s whimsicality stemmed from its clever subtleties, including jazz renditions of popular music by Carly Rae Jepson and Beyoncé. These small additions were executed perfectly, proving the roaring twenties’ concept to be a complete success. The influence of Baz Lurhmann’s modernized film, The Great Gatsby, was obvious during these scenes, and the product of this creativity truly enhanced the setting.

The production’s technical achievements are found in the exquisite lighting. The lighting changed easily from one scene to the next, playing a defining factor in the emotional success of each. Scenes requiring sole focus on Elizabeth (Hurt) and Mr. Darcy (Venton), for example, were given flawlessly by the spot and “god” lights. Superb lighting in addition to excellent diction, English dialects, and the ability to breathe new life and new precedents for a story over two-hundred years old made Annapolis High’s "Pride and Prejudice" a play like no other.


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Alyssa Bell
Franklin

Submitted for publication to

"Pride and Prejudice" is a classic piece of European literature published on 1813 and adapted for the stage by John Jory. Annapolis High School presented this classic piece on the weekend of November 16th.

The story follows Elizabeth Bennet, the second oldest of five sisters living in the imaginary town of Meryton, England. The play follows her and her sisters as they deal with growing up, marriage, and judgment. After a long, heart wrenching story full of sigh-worthy moments, three of the five sisters end up happy and married.

The original novel takes place in the 1800s, however director Andrew Parr decided to bring the story forward into the 1920s. A brilliant choice on his part, this decision made it more relatable with movies like The Great Gatsby recently entering theatres. The ball scenes were choreographed by students to jazzy versions of modern hits such as “Call Me Maybe” and “Crazy in Love”. The girls were all dressed in flapper dresses and character shoes, which added to especially Lydia’s flirtatious persona.

The driving forces of the show were Amanda Hurt as Elizabeth and Jack Venton as Mr. Darcy. Hurt did a wonderful job of keeping a consistent English dialect and dealing with such complex language taken from the novel. The energy of all the actors was heightened as soon as Venton entered the stage as the stingy and socially awkward Mr. Darcy. His facial expressions depicted exactly what the character was feeling and the scene where he confesses his love to Elizabeth was a perfect concoction of awkwardness and love.

Two standout supporting characters were Hannah Rice as the flirtatious Lydia and Allia Scruggs as the sweet Jane. These two were the most consistent performances in the whole show. Rice depicted Lydia just as she should be: headstrong and flighty. Scruggs’ performance as Jane was a favorite. Jane is a sweet, selfless character who cares more for her sisters than for herself. Both actresses were consistently in character and had their dialect throughout the whole show.

Behind the set was a white screen which the techies were able to project different colored lights onto. The lights would always match perfectly with the mood of the scene. In addition to the colored lights, the lighting designer used different projections to portray a park scene or London, which really added to the feeling of the show. The use of sound effects and music gave a jazzy feel to the whole show, which was great for the 20s setting.

With student contributions to nearly every technical element, the whole show had a homey feel, like you could see all of the passion and hard work every person put into it.


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Lexi Walls
Franklin

Submitted for publication to

"Pride and Prejudice," centered around strong-willed Elizabeth Bennet, her romantic younger sisters, and her bookish older one, tells the story of several young women and their romantic encounters. While her sisters are out flirting and dancing, Elizabeth spurs the advances of several romantic prospects throughout the show. When she meets Mr. Darcy, a quiet, antisocial man with no interest for small talk with strange women, their two personalities clash.

Complete with dance numbers, a lounge singer, and flapper dresses, the 1920s atmosphere was authentically conveyed without overdoing it or making it seem silly. Although the novel was originally set in the 1800s, the transition into the early 1900s was smooth and didn't cause any strange anachronisms, as one might expect. The use of music in the background helped to create atmosphere, although there were times throughout the show where the music or sound effects would drown out the microphones.

Amanda Hurt played a believable Elizabeth Bennet throughout the entire show. She had a bite in her voice and committed completely to her stubborn character. She paid great attention to small, funny moments, which helped her lend her mostly serious character a likeable quality. Mr. Darcy, played by Jack Venton, used the comedy hidden in his mostly serious lines to it's potential, and it was clear he understood the difficult vocabulary and used it to his advantage. His stutters and stammers when confessing his feelings were reminiscent of a bashful schoolboy, and Elizabeth's spurning of his advances were heartbreaking.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, played by Jonas Pallaro-Sonneborn and Madeline McArdle, respectively, successfully played the objectives of a mother and father, which is a difficult thing for a high school student to do. Mr. Bennet was delightfully cynical, and played the 'Exasperated Father of Five Daughters' well. Mrs. Bennet played a theatrical mother just as well. Lizzy Dixon, Hannah Rice, Emily Flynn, and Allia Scruggs added greatly to the family dynamic, and completed the role of romantic, footloose younger sisters(and bookish older ones). Logan Kelly created a very likeable Mr. Bingley, and Ashleigh Moore created an incredibly irritating Miss Bingley(in a good way).

The set was fairly simple but very effective. It consisted of two large panels that could turn to reveal different set pieces on the back that could create another scene. There was also a large window that was constructed to indicate whether the scene was indoors or outdoors, in a home or in a ballroom, so on and so-forth. One of the most impressive aspects was the lighting, which was used to create shadows of trees or buildings to set the scenes. The lighting also changed in the background to reflect the setting.

Annapolis High School's "Pride and Prejudice" was pleasantly surprising. While it did tell the original story, it added a twist that made it a little more colorful and a little more fun. While it was set in a different time than the original novel, it successfully told the timeless story of a strong young woman.

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