Featuring a cast and crew of 100, Woodson High will present the classic, romantic play, "Pride and Prejudice." And there’ll be entertainment, both on and offstage.
"We’ll have eight ballroom dancers doing the minuet in the lobby before the show, and they’ll dance in the background during the play," said Director Terri Hobson. "A live, string quartet will also perform outside and onstage."
The curtain rises Friday, April 25 and May 2, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, April 26 and May 3, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance via www.wtwdrama.org or $10 at the door; $5, senior citizens. Matinees (understudy cast) are $5 for everyone.
Praising her "awesome" cast members, Hobson said things are going well. "They’re making great connections to their characters, have wonderful chemistry together and are making good acting choices. The story takes place in early to mid 1800s England and it’s going to be fun for the audience to enter that world and time. They’ll find people they identify with, and it’s partly due to Jane Austen writing characters who are timeless."
THE BENNETS, of the "landed gentry," have three daughters, and the eldest, Jane, falls in love with the wealthy Mr. Bingley, but his sister disapproves. His friend, Mr. Darcy, and the middle sister, Elizabeth, initially don’t like each other. Later, Darcy falls in love with her, but she has misconceptions of him, so she’s prejudiced against him. He’s so rich that people assume he’s haughty and prideful – but everything works out in the end.
Junior Lara Taylor plays Elizabeth. "She’s intelligent – which wasn’t thought to be important in her time period," said Taylor. "She’s family-oriented, but strong-willed and independent. Her family has land, but not much money, so it’s important that their daughters marry well."
Taylor likes portraying someone not stereotypical. "She’s funny and thinks for herself, and I get to play opposite the wonderful Javier Killefer [as Darcy]," said Taylor. "And it’s fun when our characters verbally spar with each other."
She said the audience will like the period costumes and the story which made the original book so beloved. "It’s not flashy," she added. "So people can really connect with the characters’ struggles and relationships."
Killefer, a senior, describes Darcy as "tall, brooding and withdrawn from most conversations. So most people think he’s aloof or arrogant, but he’s actually compassionate – he just doesn’t speak unless asked or he believes he has something important to say. His family’s rich and he does philanthropy."
Killefer identifies with Darcy because he, too, was introverted before joining theater. "He’s really macho and suave, so all the women go, ‘Ah, Mr. Darcy,’ and it’s fun to play someone like that," said Killefer. He also said the audience will enjoy watching the women bicker with each other: "They pretend to like each other, but they’re really making snide remarks disguised as conversation."
PORTRAYING MRS. BENNET is junior Mary Anne Callahan. "Her entire life is about setting her daughters up for marriage – it’s behind every decision she makes," said Callahan. "She’s obsessed with getting them good husbands so they can inherit the family estate. But other people find her annoying."
Enjoying her role, Callahan said her character’s naïve because "she doesn’t realize people are making fun of her. She thinks she’s intelligent, but she’s so preoccupied that she doesn’t live in reality." Callahan said the actors playing the Bennet family members are close offstage and on, so the audience will see "how much we care about each other. They’ll also like the comedic parts of the story and the classic romance."
Hobson had a dialect coach teach her actors a "transatlantic dialect, like Gregory Peck and Katharine Hepburn spoke in the 1930s-40s – elegant, but not British. They’ve also learned to curtsy, bow and properly serve tea. And their costumes include dresses with empire waistlines for the women and tailcoats with ascots and top hats for the men."
The show’s technical director is senior Killian Rodgers. He’s also the lighting crew chief. "Lighting captures the different emotions in the different houses," he explained. "For example, the Bennet house will have warm reds and oranges since it’s a country estate. But Darcy’s aunt’s house will have cooler colors, blues and greens, because she’s higher class and calmer. Lighting’s an art because you have freedom to choose the colors and intensity you want and can add shadows and special effects."
Overall, said Rodgers, "It’s a great show and people should come see it. Everyone’s heard of this story, but not necessarily read the book, so they can see the characters come to life onstage."