The latest production by the Valhalla Players is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” that will open on Friday, Jan. 18. Senior Emily Bass, one of the two student directors, describes the show as “a very dynamic love story with a hint of comedy and splash of drama.”
As told by the director Kevin Bliss, the story follows the Bennets, a lower aristocracy family with three daughters who are all of marriageable age. As women couldn’t inherit property at this time in history, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are determined to ensure that their daughters marry well in order to preserve their fortune.
Sophomore Daisy Held plays Elizabeth Bennet, the middle daughter and the lead role. She said Elizabeth is a headstrong character who stands up for what she believes in, but also loves her family very much.
According to Bliss, audiences should be able to connect with Elizabeth’s character.
“They’ll relate to Elizabeth, who is extremely bright and her intelligence seems to be a liability that impedes her ability to find a good match,” Bliss said.
Junior Sam Trott plays Mr. William Darcy, Elizabeth’s primary love interest who is illustrated as being very quiet and reserved. Trott said the show could be described as a dramatic romance.
“It’s complex, and I think a lot of people will like it even if they don’t initially believe they will. It’s got good variety [and] the characters are really interesting,” Trott said.
In comparison to the original story, Bass said the audience shouldn’t hold such high expectations for what the show will be like.
“For fans of this piece, [the show] is probably going to be a bit different just because any adaptation is going to be slightly different than the original material,” Bass said. “[But] you’ll always be thrilled to see what comes next.”
Both Held and Bliss said that “Pride and Prejudice” has themes of women empowerment, which not only address issues of the time the show is set in, but are still relevant today.
“Jane Austen was one of those writers who helped bring attention to the limited options for women [so I would say that] despite the fact that this story is 200 years old, it still has a lot of relevancy,” Bliss said.
This show is also bringing some of the changes Bliss has made to the drama program that are into the workings.
“This is the first time in a very long time that we’ve had student directors,” Bass said. “[Bliss is] all for letting people have new opportunities and learning experiences which has been great.”
Come support the cast and crew of “Pride and Prejudice” showing Jan. 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26, at 7 p.m. with an additional show at 2 p.m. on the 26th.