Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice has sold over 20 million copies worldwide and along with her other work, has inspired the creation of an international Jane Austen Society.
Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan’s stage adaptation of the novel is adding to the popularity of the classic story. The play was originally created it for the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and has since been produced by a number of other companies, including both Oregon Shakespeare and the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (California), as well as a number of little theater, college, and high school productions.
It will be produced in Washington, D.C. at the Roundhouse Theater this fall and in Door County this summer by Door Shakespeare in a delightful outdoor garden theater at Bjorklunden. One of the major challenges facing playwrights who take on the stage-adaptation of Jane Austen’s popular 19th century novel is the large cast of characters. Elizabeth Bennett, the central figure, has two parents, four sisters, and three suitors – in addition to others who play important roles in her classic story.
“We were committed to be faithful to the spirit of what Jane Austen wrote,” says Joseph Hanreddy of their undertaking “…while also creating a dramatic entertainment that would be funny, compelling and moving. We tried to preserve a considerable amount of Austen’s language but with compression to preserve energy and comic bite on the stage.”
Several stage and screen versions of the novel have been produced, but a particular goal of these collaborators was “to tell the entire story by creating scenes between actors” rather than resorting to occasional narration. The script was about eight months in the making and involved numerous e-mails and phone calls when both men were not in Milwaukee.
Since 1999 Door Shakespeare has been presenting plays by Shakespeare and other classic works at Bjorklunden in Bailey’s Harbor. This summer Pride and Prejudice will be offered in repertory with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. For more information visit DoorShakespeare.com or call 920.839.1500.