ambitious efforts ever in producing the North Carolina premier of one
of literature's most popular love stories October 27-31.
The college's presentation of Jane Austen's beloved 1813 novel, Pride
and Prejudice, will be the state premier of a 2009 adaptation of the
play by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan originally produced at
Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
Professor of Theatre Ann Marie Costa, who directs the production, has
assembled an "A Team" of area theatre professionals and a large
student cast to reinforce the script with an energetic, rich
production that highlights the humor and complexity of Austen's
characters. She said the new adaptation will especially appeal to Jane
Austen fans because it maintains much of the actual dialogue of the
All shows will take place in the Duke Family Performance Hall. The
play will begin at 7:30 p.m. on October 27 and 28, 8:15 p.m. on
October 29, 8 p.m. on October 30, and 2 p.m. on October 31. Tickets
are $15 for general admission. $11 for seniors, and $6 for students.
For reservations call 704-894-2135 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays or
visit www.davidson.edu/tickets. For more information on the
production, which is recommended for ages 10 and up, call 704-894-2912.
The plot of Pride and Prejudice focuses on the young Elizabeth Bennett
as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education
and marriage in the landed gentry society of early 19th century
England. Elizabeth and her four unmarried sisters live with their
father and a zealous matchmaker of a mother. But Elizabeth's
priorities are far from husband-hunting, and when she meets the
handsome Mr. Darcy she finds him proud and arrogant. Eventually,
however, in this enchanting story of love, marriage, and mutual
understanding, Elizabeth discovers that a man can change his manners
and a woman can change her mind.
Costa said the Davidson production will present characters, sets and
action true to the Regency period of English history in which Austen
wrote the novel. Costa said, "Elizabeth and Darcy's sense of wit,
propriety and social grace—their pride and prejudice, if you will—push
them away from each other. It's an exciting relationship for the
audience, which ends up rooting for them to overcome their obstinance
and get together."
Davidson Associate Professor of English Maria Fackler, who teaches the
novel in several classes, noted that Pride and Prejudice was voted by
members of the Romantic Novelists Association as the most romantic
book of all times. According to Fackler, Austen helped shape the novel
as a literary form. Fackler said, "Jane Austen is a pivotal figure
between the first practitioners of the novel like Fielding, and major
Victorian novelists like Charles Dickens and George Elliott."
Wikipedia states that the book has sold 20 million copies worldwide.
The Davidson production involves 21 student actors and two community
actors. By show time, many of them will have rehearsed for 20 hours
per week for six straight weeks. The lead roles of Elizabeth Bennet
and Fitzwilliam Darcy are being played by Samantha Krusi '13 and Paul
Though this is the first Davidson theatre role for DiFiore, a
sophomore from Dallas, he was heavily involved in high school theatre.
He admitted his assignment to the leading role of Mr. Darcy came as a
surprise, but he's enjoying the challenge of enlivening this mostly
reserved character. He said, "Ann Marie Costa has been great in
teaching me how to set an objective for each scene, and then figuring
out the acting tactics I should employ to achieve them."
DiFiore said the Davidson production should be highly entertaining for
the audience as a "solid, full production." It will include large ball
scenes, dynamic lighting, elaborate costumes, music, and many scene
Music provides almost constant accompaniment for the play, with theme
music for lead characters and multiple instruments playing in large
ballroom scenes. Davidson College music faculty member Cynthia Lawing
played the piano parts on a modern instrument, and Bill Lawing,
another music faculty member, converted it electronically to mimic the
sound of a piano forte, the instrument played in Austen's time. Sam
Van Hallgren, a producer with WDAV, created the overall sound design
for the play.
Charlotte-based costume designers Bob Croghan and Heidi O'Hare are
creating period costumes from scratch for female characters, and
Davidson College set designer Josh Peklo has built two major automated
platforms that will support outdoor and indoor worlds for 50 scene
changes. Delia Neil of UNC Charlotte is choreographing English country
dance scenes, and Todd Wren has designed the lighting.
Costa noted this is the first adaptation of a novel the Theatre
Department has produced in her 17 years on faculty. But the occasion
has given her the welcome opportunity to consult about the play with
Fackler and other English department colleagues. In addition, several
of those colleagues will be bringing their classes to see the play,
and will be involved in post-production talk-backs about it.
"The elaborate set, lush costuming, complex choreography and musical
accompaniment make it akin to a musical," Costa noted. "I promise it
will be quite an entertaining night at the theatre!"
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for
1,800 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C.
Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has
graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of
the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson
Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the
nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages,
giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson
competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding
Honor Code is central to student life at the college.