Theatre

The Pride of the college

Novel of manners: Lady Doak College students performing Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice   | Photo Credit: G Moorthy

Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice during the transition period, which was marked by civilian unrest with the beginning of industrialization in England where one third of the population lived on the verge of starvation, spurring food riots across the countryside. Frequent wars also brought financial instability and monetary volatility to the country. It was only during the Regency period arts and science flourished because of the King’s patronage. Austen’s depiction of manners, education, marriage and money all reflected the sense and sensibility of the Georgian society.

Lady Doak College students did not miss to portray the essence of the novel, which tracks the emotional development of Elizabeth Bennet, the central character who understands the difference between the superficial charm of Wickham and essential pragmatism of Darcy. The novel talks about the necessity of marrying for love (Mr. Binghley and Jane and Darcy and Elizabeth) and for monetary reasons (Charlotte Lucas and William Collins).

That was the period when women were dependent on men as they had no legal rights over property. No doubt, Mr and Mrs Bennet wanted their daughters to get married to a wealthy gentleman and that was why whenever a wealthy person visits their neighbourhood Mrs. Bennet gets excited and persuades her husband to make a visit.

Despite social pressures to make a good match, Elizabeth has the guts to reject Darcy’s marriage proposal stating that she could not love a man who has caused her sister Jane such unhappiness and further accuses him of treating Wickham unjustly. Finally, she has the resolve to accept her folly and agrees to Darcy’s proposal.

“It is quite a complex script to transpose on stage. Knowing the voices and the disposition of my girls helps immensely in assigning roles. During our Play reading sessions, I interchange roles if need be, and that too works fine,” says Beatrice Anne D’Couto, director of the play.

“I eliminated certain roles that were not necessary to the progress of the play version. The beauty of drama lies in keeping the tension and tautness on stage. Given the constraints of time and other practical problems, keeping as close to the original can be done when one uses an adaptation,” she says.

Telescoping scenes most definitely calls for some director generated dialogues. The last scene when Mr. Darcy comes up to Miss Elizabeth Bennet and the two realise they are destined for each other, the line they say in unison “Where there is love and respect, there can be no pride or prejudice” is the director’s contribution to the play.

Rasha, II M.Sc. Physics, as Elizabeth Bennet did creditably well while Soniya, III B.A. English as Mrs. Bennet with her shrieks in excitement had audience in splits. Angel Ratchanya, II B. A. Psychology and Sociology, as Darcy could have done better to justify the character.

Kudos to the back stage team and Department Head, Rachel Barnabas for transporting the audience to the late 18th century with her set designs. Music by Aishwarya, III B.A. English and Choreography by Sarumathy, I M.A. English, deserve mention.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 5:04:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/the-pride-of-the-college/article19676712.ece

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