Arts & Humanities Society & Culture

200 years of ‘Pride and Prejudice’: University Theatre offers new take on classic

University Theatre 2013 Pride and Prejudice
The cast of "Pride and Prejudice" includes

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Theatre will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Jane Austen classic “Pride and Prejudice” with a stage adaptation by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan directed by UGA’s George Contini. Performances will be Nov. 7, 8 and 13-16 at 8 p.m. with matinees Nov. 10 and 17 at 2:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre.

A panel discussion on “Lizzie Bennett Then and Now: Adapting Pride and Prejudice for Theatre, Film and the Web” will be held Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. in the Miller Learning Center.

Contini, an associate professor in the UGA department of theatre and film studies, describes the play as a Regency Classic “rom-com” and noted that Austen originally wanted to title the novel “First Impressions.”

“I’ve always felt that was the stronger title,” he said. “It’s one way this story still resonates with modern audiences. Vanity, hypocrisy, pride and prejudice all continue to play out in our lives as technology offers even more ways for us to wear masks in our interpersonal relationships and social settings.”

Contini sees another modern parallel in the story’s focus on the characters’ desire to marry the person they love.

“It’s an especially relevant theme in the light of recent court decisions broadening the ranks of those allowed access to the institution of marriage,” he said. “The struggle to balance love and practical matters in marriage also still resonates. And putting on airs to impress others is only amplified in our age of social media.”

Dance is a key element of the production, propelling characters through the narrative and reinforcing the production’s light and vibrant tone. The choreographer, Lily Herne, recently moved to Athens to work as program specialist for the UGA volleyball team after working extensively as a choreographer and director around the U.S. and Ireland. Her research on the period dances has helped the actors master them.

First produced at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, the stage version of “Pride and Prejudice” focuses on the transitory nature of both the period and the play’s characters.

“A vibrant and diverse young cast reminds us that, far from being stuffy, these characters are young people looking for love, fortune and status,” said David Saltz, head of the department of theatre and film studies. “There’s never been a more fitting time to encounter ‘Pride and Prejudice’ again or for the first time.”

For the panel discussion, speakers will include Contini; Alexandra Edwards, Emmy award winner for the Web series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” and a doctoral candidate in the department of English; Roxanne Eberle, the author of “Chastity and Transgression in Women’s Writing, 1792-1897” and an associate professor in the department of English; and Kayla Sklar, a mass media and marketing major with the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s New Media Institute.

The panel will discuss the interpretation, adaptation and rethinking of Jane Austen’s classic from novel and stage play to film and web series. It will address constant and relevant themes and the fuss about Mr. Darcy.

Tickets for the play are $16 for the general public and $12 for students. They can be purchased at, by phone at 706-542-4400, in person at the Performing Arts Center or Tate Student Center box offices or at the door before the show.

“Pride and Prejudice” is part of the annual UGA Spotlight on the Arts festival presented by the UGA Arts Council, of which the department of theatre and film studies is a participating unit. More than 60 events are scheduled during the nine-day festival in November. For more information, see

The Cast:

At Longbourn
Mr. Bennet: master of fine arts performance student Wyatt Geist of Durham, N.C.
Mrs. Bennet: master of fine arts performance student Danielle Mills of Bronx, N.Y.
Miss Jane Bennet: junior theatre and business major Sara Chamberlain of Cumming
Miss Elizabeth Bennet: junior theatre and English major Emerald Toller of Lakemont
Miss Mary Bennet: senior theatre major Ashley Ware of Dacula
Miss Catherine “Kitty” Bennet: sophomore theatre major Julianne Whitehead of Lawrenceville
Miss Lydia Bennet: senior theatre and advertising major Jenna Jones of Blackshear

At Netherfield
Mr. Charles Bingley: sophomore theatre and marketing major Aaron Klein of Dunwoody
Miss Caroline Bingley, his sister: senior theatre major Jenna Coleman of Roswell

At Pemberley
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: senior theatre and English major Connor Brockmeier of Woodstock
Miss Georgiana Darcy, his sister: sophomore theatre and advertising major Madeleine Tutterow of Cartersville
Mrs. Reynolds, his housekeeper: sophomore theatre and public relations major Caroline Caldwell of Easley, S.C.

At Rosings Park and Hunsford Parsonage
The Right Honourable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, aunt to Mr. Darcy: junior theatre and mass media arts major Hannah Klevasahl of Cartersville
Miss Anne de Bourgh, her daughter: sophomore Giselle Fernandez of Atlanta
Colonel Fitzwilliam, her nephew, cousin to Mr. Darcy: sophomore theatre and English major Isaac Hopkins of Gainesville
The Rev. Mr. Collins, cousin and heir to Mr. Bennet: master of fine arts performance student J.L. Reed of Winston Salem, N.C.

At Lucas Lodge
Sir William Lucas, knight: senior theatre and political science major Jim Barrow of Oglethorpe County
Lady Lucas, his wife: junior theatre major Abby Holland of Marietta
Miss Charlotte Lucas, their daughter: marketing and mass media arts major Kayla Sklar of Atlanta

In London
Mr. Gardiner, brother to Mrs. Bennet: theatre major Thaddeus Abbott of Athens
Mrs. Gardiner, his wife: sophomore theatre major Drew Atkinson of Donalsonville

In Meryton, Redcoats of Hertfordshire
Mr. George Wickham: senior theatre and journalism major Taylor Brooks of Waycross
Ensign Denny: junior theatre major Chris Stalcup of Statesboro
Captain Carter: junior theatre and journalism major Zach Baker of Milton

In Service
Ladies maids: sophomore mass media arts major Attalah Ali of Jonesboro, sophomore theatre and comparative literature major Katherine Anderegg of Pensacola, Fla.
Footmen: junior theatre and public relations major Caleb Huett of Carrollton, senior theatre major Walker Smith of Decatur
Dancing master: theatre major Thaddeus Abbott of Athens