Parkland thespians show their ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in weekend play
Parkland High School Theater students will be preforming “Pride and Prejudice” this weekend in the school’s auditorium.
“Pride and Prejudice” is a tale of perceived appearances and tangled relationships with the hope true love prevails.
Based on the book of the same name by Jane Austin, the story was published in 1813.
This tale involves Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and their five unmarried daughters: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia.
Complicating things, Mr. Bennet’s estate is “entailed” and can only be passed on to a male heir.
As none of his daughters can receive the estate, it will be passed on to Mr. Bennet’s distant relative, Mr. Collins.
For this reason, Mrs. Bennet is desperate to have all her daughters married to fine gentlemen.
Their second oldest daughter, Elizabeth, is the focus of the play.
She is quick to make judgments about people.
Hannah Parrish, who plays Elizabeth, commented on her character.
“Elizabeth is witty and very independent. She does her own thing and doesn’t follow the standards of this time,” Parrish said. “Most people would characterize her as a feminist of this era.”
Parrish said she liked the similarities between herself and Elizabeth.
“Although, it was a really challenging role for me to play because a lot of her characteristics were difficult to find in myself,” she said. “I had to act a bit more reserved than I am used to. Because of this, it was hard relaxing into the character.”
Mr. Darcy is a very snobbish young gentleman.
Max Hakim, who plays Darcy, said his character is “very subdued and a very sophisticated, wealthy complex man.”
“He acts very stoic but on the inside he’s actually pretty sensitive and a little insecure. But, he doesn’t want people to know that about him,” Hakim said. “It is Elizabeth who finally breaks him down and changes who he is.”
One constant throughout the conflicts and tumultuous emotions of the characters is Mrs. Bennet, who keeps the audience focused on the true task — finding husbands for her daughters.
Kayleigh Scott, who won a Freddy Award for “Outstanding Performance by Female Ensemble Member” for her character, Berthe in “Pippin” last year plays Mrs. Bennet.
Scott said her character adds comedic flair to the dramatic mood of the play.
Her performance will keep the audience smiling as she continually prods her husband.
Scott describes her character as a “pretty crazy, an outgoing woman with no filter.”
Collins, who thinks all the Bennet girls should want to marry him, is played by Ben Quaglio.
Quaglio said he enjoys playing Collins because it can be quite “comical” playing a “posh” character.
He described his character is “pompous.”
“Collins is a pastor of the Church of England and he thinks everybody enjoys talking to him, but really whenever he’s around, people just want to leave,” Quaglio said. “It’s difficult going from modern shows to something that’s very formal and reserved like this show ... especially being a teenager.”
Director of Visual and Performing Arts Mark Stutz commented on the play.
“It’s a love story — a basic boy meets girl,” Stutz said.
Stutz was asked why he chose “Pride and Prejudice.”
“We haven’t done a classic romantic play in almost forever,” Stutz said. The kids wanted something different.
“They’ve done Shakespeare; they’ve done comedies; they’ve done modern plays; and they’ve done pretty much all the basic shows that high schools do. We wanted to find something that high schools don’t normally do.”
Stutz said the play includes a fairly large cast.
“It has given them the opportunity to have more actors with more scenes and lines than the typical play, which focuses on a few main characters,” Stutz said.
He said this production also gave the actors and a selected ensemble the exposure to perform period dancing.
“In order to really keep the accents alive, we ran our rehearsals where you had to speak in dialect. I had to speak in dialect, even the crew,” Stutz said.
Tori Mittleman was the dialect coach and Jessica O’Brian was the choreographer.
Stutz said some costumes were created by Elizabeth Smith and Laura Quaglio.
Other costumes were rented as period pieces can be difficult to make for a show such as this, he added.
Keeping everything together is stage manager Shaye Harrer.
Harrer said her job is to run the technical parts of the performance: lights, sound cues and transitions.
“It seems like there are a million things going on at once,” she said. “The most difficult part of the job is keeping calm.”
Technical Director Alex Michaels leads the crew with Harrer’s assistance.
“The stage crew consists of about 12 members,” Michaels said. “The build crew who actually worked on the sets, lights and painting consists of about 35-40 members.”
“They start working on the sets in the summer,” he said. “The students actually design and make the sets.
“This is a great opportunity for kids to get the building blocks of a career in technical theater.”
“They even hold a summer camp for middle school students to learn the different aspects of stage crew,” he said. “The hope is they learn and bring with them that passion to the high school sets.”
“Pride and Prejudice” will be presented 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 and 14; and 3 p.m. Oct. 15 at the high school.
All seats are reserved. Tickets, $10 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens aged 65 and older, are on sale through the high school box office at parklandsd.org.