Richard Montgomery High School's performance of "Pride and Prejudice" over the weekend allowed viewers to slip into a lavish world of class and elegance and the quest to find a suitable mate in 19th-century England.
"Pride and Prejudice," adapted from Jane Austen's novel, tells the classic tale of a frantic mother, Mrs. Bennet (played by the extremely animated Linda Zang), trying to get rich young bachelors to offer her five daughters their hand in marriage. Although each girl has her own relationships with many a dashing young man, the story revolves around the romance between Elizabeth Bennet (portrayed exquisitely by Tamara Golan), the Bennets' second-eldest daughter, and the very stiff Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy (played by the extremely perceptive and believable Colin Ball).
At first the two are distant, but they finally begin to realize their mutual attraction. The other girls have their own predicaments to deal with, and the clever and comedic statements from their father, Mr. Bennet (adequately played by the witty Richard Wanerman), are right on cue.
The cast members portrayed their characters superbly. However, the storyline was at times confusing to follow. The actors should not have focused their entire energy into exaggerating their characterizations but should also have placed themselves inside their situations to better portray the meaning intended by the author. But this didn't impact the overall delivery of the play.
The set was simple yet beautifully crafted and provided very nice scenery for the play. The crew also provided a clean and organized performance, with only an occasional sound glitch or disturbance during set changes.
Richard Montgomery should most definitely be highly recognized for its efforts and for performing such an intricate show.
Quince Orchard High School
"Pride and Prejudice," perhaps Jane Austen's best-loved novel, was performed with deserved applause at Richard Montgomery High School. The school used Helen Jerome's adaptation for the stage, which, because of its time constraints, made the play a little choppy but nevertheless supplied an entertaining show.
Jane Austen's book can be challenging to produce as a play because so much of the story involves people sitting around talking. But the audience's interest was sustained in particular by the individual performances. The two central characters, Elizabeth Bennet and her love interest, Mr. Darcy, were well portrayed by Tamara Golan and Colin Ball. Golan managed to revive the much loved character of Elizabeth as a down-to-earth, quick-witted girl with whom the audience could not help falling in love.
However, the outstanding performance of the night was Ball. His disdain and disgruntlement with the Bennets is quickly changed when his heart is softened by the "fine eyes in a pretty face." We have no inclination of his intentions until the very last minute, and when his love is revealed, it is understandable and wonderfully portrayed as his frosty exterior melts.
Other characters added humor to the piece, in particular Lydia Bennet, played by Carly Ball, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, played by Adriana Smith, who were both portrayed as laughable, ridiculous women without losing any of their purpose to the story.
The set was simple, yet effective. Walls with different designs were moved on and offstage between the scene changes.
The disappointment of the night was the technical aspect of the play. There were sound difficulties: Characters' microphones switched on and off, with some voices excessively loud and others too quiet for the audience to hear. The music between scenes was so loud that it occasionally drowned out the characters when they renewed dialogue at the beginning of the next scene.
Nevertheless, the play is worth watching. This production of Jane Austen's timeless classic, which continues this weekend, is a good display of individual acting ability, and it is a romantic and entertaining show.