Beloved Jane Austen characters collect to have a good time Christmas in household and pleasure – however not all the things ever goes to plan with the Bennet sisters and Fitzwilliam Darcy. “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley” is the second play within the Arizona Theatre Firm’s 2022-2023 season.
Written by playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, and directed by Veronika Duerr, the play is about two years after the ending of Austen’s hottest novel, “Satisfaction and Prejudice.”
Lydia Bennet, the youngest of the 5 sisters, is caught in a depressing marriage with George Wickham. She is about to go to Pemberley for Christmas, hosted by her sister, Elizabeth and her husband, Fitzwilliam.
On the identical time, a brand new housemaid is employed by Mrs. Reynolds to lend a serving to hand with the vacation preparations.
Melcon had co-written a earlier sequel for the novel – “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” – which centered on the center sister, Mary, as she has her personal romantic vacation. Melcon wished to discover what might occur subsequent with the sisters.
Opening night time on Friday, Nov. 11 on the Temple of Music and Artwork was a vacation affair. The workers wore festive ties and cheerful smiles. The present gave the impression to be almost bought out.
“Lauren and I had been speaking and we requested ourselves, ‘What does the American theater want?’,” Melcon stated. “We determined it could be actually enjoyable to put in writing a vacation play as a result of we had turn out to be fatigued with the vacation present choices and thought there may very well be one thing new.”
The stage is embellished with lilac curtains draped over a white backdrop. A small writing desk with a feather quill is off to 1 aspect of the stage. When the curtains elevate, the intimate servants’ corridor is revealed, stocked with lengthy eating tables and a china cupboard.
A tea kettle warms up in a nook and the viewers is transported to Regency-era England. Cassie, performed by Emily Mohney, bumps into Brian, the Pemberley’s footman performed by Seth Tucker, upon her arrival to the property.
On the flip aspect, Elizabeth, performed by Andrea Syglowski, and her sister Lydia, performed by Maya Encila, catch up. The costuming is on level. The women all put on empire waistlines and elaborate curled hairstyles. The lads are all waistcoats and sideburns – the height of males’s Regency style. The household dynamics — and dramatics — are apparent and thickened with gossip.
In true Austen style, gossip between socialites and servants are tucked away in letters and by no means out of sight. Everybody is aware of all the things about anybody.
“Jane Austen would have been so good at social media,” Melcon stated. “All these persons are always writing these letters about all people. It is all gossip.”
Very like fashionable occasions with Instagram and Twitter, folks have been airing out different folks’s soiled laundry for everybody to see since there was cultural relevance of the matter.
In Austen’s world as we learn it, there are clear distinctions about social standing, etiquette, propriety and what girls can and can’t do.
Ladies are raised to aspire to marriage, a household, dwelling maintaining, and so forth. Like Cassie stated throughout one among her conversations with Brian, she needs to have the ability to handle herself and have her personal life. Not marry a person who thinks she can be maid for her husband as she is for her place of employment.
The identical feminism highschool college students focus on in literature class regarding the Bennets carries on to the play. Cassie is courageous and decided to have company, to have her tea and books on her personal phrases. Elizabeth is outspoken and sharp; she is Fitzwilliam’s equal as head of the home. Lydia who tries to be blissful in her marriage with George Wickham is aware of she needs to have a selection as to what her life will probably be, no matter her internal conflicts about who she needs to be and who society made her be. Plus, ghosts of outdated points hang-out Fitzwilliam, performed by Cecil Washington Jr., and Geogre, performed by Alex J. Gould.
Regardless of the play being based mostly off a preferred guide, Melcon stated she wanted to contemplate how acquainted all people was going to be with Austen’s story. She needed to juggle making a story that the viewers might comply with in addition to making it approachable.
“Jane Austen wrote for her time,” Melcon stated. “So, the language is a giant problem as a result of it is not accessible. She used to put in writing in three lengthy paragraphs what may very well be stated in a single sentence.”
The script was written in a fascinating approach. It was immersive with its grammar, and the actors talking with British accents gave it the standard of a interval film.
Because the plot progresses, secrets and techniques start to floor, difficult all the things Lydia thought she knew about her husband. Romance blooms for some characters and self-love grows for others. However by means of all of the challenges, household love carries all of them – even when they don’t seem to be associated by blood.
The best way the actors weaved out and in the set’s doorways and floated between one another was completely choreographed. The comedic timing was on level and people characters have been plausible. Anybody might relate to them.
“One factor by no means modifications,” Melcon stated. “Household is all the time sophisticated.”
There was a coziness that seeped from the stage and made viewers members smile. If Pemberley had been an actual place, Mrs. Reynolds’ Christmas dinner would have been the place to be.
The forged obtained a standing ovation from the viewers, and in alternate, carried out a Christmas carol. “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley” will probably be open till Dec. 2 in Tucson.