By Zita Lam
Follows loosely on one of Jane Austen’s renowned novels, “Pride and Prejudice” is now running at Seattle Repertory Theatre through Oct. 29, 2017. This west coast premiere is written by award-winning playwright Kate Hamill, and is directed by Amanda Dehnert. Alongside with the most-adapted themes of the book, the way Hamill reproduces the classic is certainly drawing everyone’s attention.
The play opens with Mr. Bennett (Rajeev Varma) sitting at the center of the stage, reading Seattle’s alternative newspaper, The Stranger. Despite of the characters’ 19th century British costumes, they each have a vivid personality. Upon the arrival of an eligible bachelor Mr. Bingley (trick Danneker), the Bennett family is preparing their daughters to attend the grand ball. The humorous love story begins when Mr. Bingley falls in love with Janet Bennett (Emily Chisholm) and it completely shakes the world of the family. As the plot switches the focus on Mr. Bingley’s best friend, Mr. Darcy (Kenajuan Bentley), his arrogant keeps pushing Lizzy (Kjerstine Anderson) off the edge. The couple struggles to get along as neither of them can give up the pride and prejudice they hold against each other.
More than 200 years after the novel is originally published, Hamill, an admirer of Austen’s work, takes on the literature in a modern, vibrant way. She resets the world of this commonly known story and makes sure the audience gets the clues as soon as they step into the theatre. No matter it is the stage setting or characters’ costumes, the production provides its audiences a sense of humor and surrealism as the show goes on. The love story between “Lizzy” and Mr. Darcy has traveled through time to a place comprised by modernity and conservative. It leaves us to wonder: “how would pride and prejudice fit-in in Hamill’s adaption?”