Thinking Outside the Box

St. Marks/Hockaday actors adjust to changes in “Pride & Prejudice”

It is a universal truth that a single man in possession of a good fortune must attend the Hockaday/St. Mark’s production of “Pride and Prejudice.”

The well-known story follows the protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, in her attempt to conform to societal expectations regarding marriage and simultaneously embrace her independence.

This production, however, is unique in a lot of ways. While most plays and musicals are presented in the Black Box or an auditorium, where the audience is on one side of the stage, “Pride and Prejudice” will be in the round—Hockaday/St.Marks has not put on a production in the round since the nineteen eighties. This means that the audience is seated on all sides of the stage instead of on one side, which requires the actors to project their voice from all angles.

“Blocking in the round is hard, but I think the cast is adjusting pretty well,” senior Regen, playing Jane Bennet, said about the challenges of performing in the round.

Another such obstacle is the adaptation of a full-fledged novel into a believable, audience-friendly, screenplay.

Not only is “Pride and Prejudice” set in the early 19th century English countryside, its themes are largely unfamiliar to Hockaday girls and St. Mark’s boys.

For example, the societal expectation that all girls of a certain age must be married is largely obsolete.

“Learning ballroom dancing for the guys,” senior Rishi, who plays Colonel Fitzwilliam, said about the most challenging part of rehearsing the play.

“It’s pretty different from most of the shows I’ve done in high school – it’s very eighteenth century,” Regen adds, “This means that the play integrates a variety of skills from the actors.”

For the next month the “Pride and Prejudice” cast and crew will be working to recreate Jane Austen’s masterpiece theatrically—where the characters we only knew on film and paper will come to life.

– Rupsha