Acting Out: GVT Tackles a Timeless Tale – Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

Viewers of media and art have long been fascinated by period set movies and television shows. Downtown Abbey and The Crown have delighted audiences for years before Bridgerton recently hit Netflix this past December. There is something that we find fascinating in today’s modern era thinking back to times of horse-drawn carriages, being courted with quilled love notes, and seemingly putting on more layers of clothing than anyone could imagine.

This alluring take on the novel will not only delight audiences with its classic essence, but will set a tone with its added wit, humor, and contemporary relevance.

Greenbrier Valley Theatre is gearing up towards their own Georgian era production with an adaption of a Jane Austen classic. This adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is written by Kate Hammill, who has steadily been making a name for herself as a writer over the last decade, being named “Playwright of the Year” in 2017. This alluring take on the novel will not only delight audiences with its classic essence, but will set a tone with its added wit, humor, and contemporary relevance.

Whether you are a literary buff that has read every Austen novel twice or you thought Jane Austen was a member of old royalty, this play is sure to delight.

Producing Artistic Director Matthew Scott Campbell (SSDC) will be making his inaugural directorial debut at GVT with Pride and Prejudice. Though the text is still based on Austen’s original work, he says that there will be twists to set the piece apart from a commonplace production.

Says Campbell, “The dialogue doesn’t feel dated or old – it feels relevant. The characters are heightened in many ways. Even though we will see them in period dress and get an essence of the time, we will be able to relate to them on a personable level. There is a nice sense of those who love Jane Austen, and those who are a little bit scared of Jane Austen to come into the same room together and have a good evening enjoying the show.”

The dialogue doesn’t feel dated or old – it feels relevant.

Pride and Prejudice, originally slated to be a part of the 2020 season at GVT prior to the theatres temporary closure, is being supported by a NEA awarded grant. While the original plan was to have a much larger cast, the show will now comprise of eight actors, many of whom play multiple parts. Campbell remarked he is excited about the challenge of making sure each character is distinct and distinguishable.

Whether you are a literary buff that has read every Austen novel twice or you thought Jane Austen was a member of old royalty, this play is sure to delight. Pride and Prejudice will open on September 24 and run through October 9. General masking will be required while at the theatre and during the performances. Please see the theatre’s website for more information. Tickets are $30 for general seating, $27 for senior citizens age 60 and above, and $20 for students. There will also be opportunities for high school students to receive free tickets to the production. Please see the theatre’s website gvtheatre.org for more information. Tickets are available by calling the box office at (304) 645-3838 or online at gvtheatre.org.

– Josh Lapping, HashtagWV #135. September 2021.

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