Winter Play: Pride & Prejudice

Lizzie Lohrer

This January, Pride and Prejudice was brought to life on stage at Forest Grove High School, replacing the customary Shakespeare performance. First published in 1813, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has since become a classic. After first being adapted for the big screen in 1940, it has spawned several more screen adaptations, like the 2005 movie starring Keira Knightley, and spin-offs, such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which starred Lily James.

Pride and Prejudice follows the story of Elizabeth Bennet, the witty second eldest in a family of five daughters, as she learns the dangers of making assumptions and judging others before getting to know them. When the rich and eligible Charles Bingley arrives in town, bringing with him his sister, Caroline, and his best friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Elizabeth’s mother, Mrs. Bennet, is ecstatic at the possibility of marrying off not just one, but two of her daughters. However, while Mr. Bingley immediately takes a shine to Jane, the eldest Bennet sister and Elizabeth’s best friend, Mr. Darcy prefers to keep to himself, and quickly garners the dislike of almost all of the Bennet family. Even Jane, who tries her hardest to see the best in everybody, has a hard time ignoring Mr. Darcy’s faults. When certain truths come to light, though, Elizabeth realizes that she may have judged him too quickly, and she is forced to reconsider her actions and morals.

Pride and Prejudice is certainly a hard work to bring to the stage, as the whole novel deals with the intricacies of society and marriage and defying certain social norms, not to mention the old fashioned language that is used throughout the story. However, the theater department did a great job with all of it, from the British accents to the complex costuming. Linnaea Rusaw, who also starred in The Addams Family early this year, did a fantastic job of bringing the complex character of Elizabeth to the stage opposite Gibson Landreville’s Mr. Darcy. Siblings Caroline and Charles Bingley, portrayed by Ruth Hailey and Ian Romig, were both energetic and brought unique and intriguing personalities; Hailey’s Caroline being just snobby enough to be entertaining and Romig’s Bingley was wonderfully awkward and endearing, especially in his interactions with the sweet and naively kind Jane, who was played by Aubrey Crouch. On top of this, the comic relief brought by character’s such as Mr. Collins, (Jacob Wilger) and the constantly bantering Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (Jordan DiNocenzo and Laurelynn Tullius) brought the production to a whole other level. Collectively, the cast did a wonderful job bringing such a classic story to life on stage, and the hard work they put in paid off throughout the play.