Starkville Community Theatre is kicking off its 42nd season with the show, “Pride and Prejudice,” a twist on the Jane Austen classic written by Kate Hamill. The show will open Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances on Sept. 18-19, Sept. 24-27 and Sept. 29, along with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Sept. 18. The show is directed by Michele Crescenzo (director) and Ben Christmas (assistant director), and features Eden Bedsaul, Emma Brooks, Tate Fancher, Louie Gallo, Madeline Golden, Allyn Hackman, Hayden Manning, Katelyn Mathis and Brittany Page.
Christmas, a senior communication major with a concentration in theatre, has enjoyed working together with Crescenzo.
“This is my third show with Michelle. I know how she works and am comfortable around her. I like Michelle, she is always the first person to take the risk and push the cast. She is always ready to make the jump, and even if it fails, at least we tried it. She is a English professor, and definitely leans more towards classical shows. What is interesting about her is she always does a twist on classical shows that makes it relevant to the audience,” Christmas said.
Christmas also explained the difference in this showing of the play in comparison to a traditional one.
“The show is a farcical take on the classic Pride and Prejudice. Instead of a serious take we are doing a more abstract, more goofy show with bigger characters,” Christmas said.
In reference to the comedy of manners that makes the show standout from the classic novel, Christmas noted the show was “not your grandmother’s Pride and Prejudice.”
Mathis, a psychology senior, plays the infamous role of Elizabeth Bennet. Mathis read and enjoyed the novel, so her interest was piqued upon the announcement of the show to the SCT community.
“When I heard they were doing a comedic take on Pride and Prejudice, I was interested. When I read sections of the script for auditions I was really blown away. It is so witty and clever. The script itself is very spontaneous. It’s a lot of very 'quick on your feet' humor. We took it day by day and have created a wonderful show that everyone will love,” Mathis said.
Mathis has enjoyed getting to know Elizabeth Bennet over the past six weeks, and offered insight into her character.
“She is a 21st century woman living in a 19th century world. She is so headstrong and has her mind made up to get done what she wants to get done. Marriage is not her main concern, and that’s ok with her. She is everything her sisters are not which makes her stand out in society and of course to Darcy,” Mathis said.
Mathis said she encourages members of the Starkville community to come see the show and anticipates the performance will differ from the audience's expectations.
“People should come see it if they want a fun night of famous literature portrayed on the stage in a way I don’t think they’re expecting,” Mathis said.
Austen fans can rest easy knowing that most of the characters and plot lines they know and love are present in this comedic take. On the other hand, those who have never read Austen’s novel should not shy away from attending the show.
Golden, a recently retired customer service representative for the MSU Agricultural Communications Department, has been an SCT participant since 1983. Golden plays the role of Mrs. Bennet, along with all the male servants.
Golden believes STC’s “Pride and Prejudice” is for all audiences.
“It’s for everybody. It’s a really crazy version of Pride and Prejudice, and I think everyone will get a kick out of it, especially with all the double casting. Even if people think they don’t like Jane Austen, they will enjoy the show because it is so funny,” Golden said.
Louie Gallo, a historical editor at the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, is double casted as Lieutenant Wickham and Mr. Collins. He confirmed that the show has something for every audience member.
“It is so over-the-top—there’s comedy in it for anyone. People who've never read it will enjoy the characters and the humor, and people who have will really enjoy the take. It is a fantastic cast, and we have fantastic directors. I have really enjoyed Michelle’s vision for the show,” Gallo said.
To purchase tickets, interested individuals can call the box office line at (662)-323-6855. Box Office hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m, Monday-Friday. The office will also be open one hour before each performance. The price of tickets is $15 for the general public and $10 for students.