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Chester County Press

Dance and theatre unite for a unique 'Pride & Prejudice' performance

02/05/2014 08:36AM ● By Acl

People’s Light & Theatre will stage a dance-infused production of “Pride & Prejudice,” Jane Austen’s classic tale of love and manners, in a transformed Leonard C. Haas Stage starting Feb. 26. On a dramatic set designed by Yoshinori Tanokura that uses a “tennis court” configuration, with audiences seated on both sides of an elongated stage, People’s Light’s Resident Director, Samantha Bellomo, will direct and choreograph Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan’s adaptation of this sweepingly epic story using the structure, elegance, and joy of Regency dance.

Bellomo notes, “Regency dance patterns emulate the dating rituals of the time. They provide a microcosm for courtship and marriage – topics and concerns that drive the story. These dances will inform the world of the play by providing a framework for the production and the vocabulary for the play’s transitions through time and space.”

Celebrating its recent 200th Anniversary, Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice” is one of the most well-known and beloved novels in the English language. Austen herself referred to it as “my own darling child.” The story focuses on the scintillating and taut relationship between central characters Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, whose encounters crackle with wit, intellect, irony, and fun. Elizabeth Bennet, known for her cleverness and good sense, is the second oldest of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s five daughters. Because property rights at the time dictated that wealth could only be passed through the male line, the Bennet daughters are in serious financial and social danger.    When a “single man in possession of a good fortune” moves into the neighborhood and introduces his even wealthier friend, Mr. Darcy, to the Bennet family, matters of duty, honor, and social expectations urgently collide with questions about affection, happiness, and love.

People’s Light Company Members Tom Teti, Marcia Saunders, Julianna Zinkel, Susan McKey, Mary Elizabeth Scallen, and Pete Pryor join a cast of 18 to bring this celebrated piece of literature to life.    People’s Light Artistic Director Abigail Adams recognizes both the advantages and challenges of doing an adaptation of a well-known piece of literature. “Everybody brings all their care, investment, and expectations of the material…Fortunately we’re lucky in having Sam [Bellomo], who not only loves the novel, the clothes, the world of Jane Austen, but has the expertise to bring the vocabulary of Regency dance to this production and make a genuinely new piece of work that will engage people who love Jane Austen and people who are new to her.”

“Pride & Prejudice” previews on Wednesday, Feb. 26 and Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 pm and Friday, Feb. 28 at 8 pm. The play opens on Saturday, March 1 and runs through Sunday, March 30. Audiences are encouraged to join the artists for a conversation about the production after the Thursday performances on March 13, 20, and 27.

Ticket prices range from $26 to $46. For tickets, call the Box Office at 610-644-3500.  Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.    For more information or to purchase group tickets, call 610-647-1900 x111 or email [email protected].