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Pride and Prejudice at Center Stage: A Review

Peter Watson Photo, Courtesy of Flickr

Pride. Prejudice. We have all fallen victim to each, but how many of us can say these fatal flaws have led us to true love? This past weekend, Baltimore’s Center Stage offered an intimate and cozy retelling of the Jane Austen classic, “Pride and Prejudice,” in a riveting new adaptation directed by Hana S. Sharif. Having been remade in countless films, this timeless novel has warmed our hearts with the stories of Jane (Erin Neufer), Mr. Bingley (Josh Salt), Elizabeth (Kate Abbruzzese) and Mr. Darcy (A.J. Shively) once again. Together, we witnessed the wonders of love at first sight, as well as the transformation from brooding hatred into deep love. But amidst all of this, the audience is also given an opportunity to reflect on the basis by which we as a society choose our lifelong partners, and question whether or not true love is worth letting go of our pride.

Elyce Feliz Photo, Courtesy of Flickr
Elyce Feliz Photo, Courtesy of Flickr

Of the many things that make this novel absolutely brilliant is its relevance to romantic society in just about any time period. The small theater size offered the audience a firsthand account of the madness that ensued inside the Bennett living room, but could these scenes have not easily unraveled in our own homes today? In a world where so much of our lives are driven by money and all that it has to offer, we seem to find ourselves swiping right to people with not only the good looks, but also the most amount of apparent wealth. We worry ourselves with securing richness rather than letting ourselves fall in love. The painful awkwardness of meeting up with people we’ve been matched with on dating apps is clearly echoed at the balls the Bennet sisters were forced to attend, as they danced and made constructed conversations with men they barely knew, all the while wondering if this one would finally be the one to promise her financial stability.

After many hostile encounters, countless exchanges of harsh words and a handful of misunderstandings, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy finally realize that there is nothing that can keep them apart. Both decide to let down their guards and admit that they were, in their own ways, wrong about each other, whether it be a misjudgment of character or a misinterpretation of emotions. Nowadays, this is a task that is often difficult for most of us to do, as we all wear an air of entitlement when our hearts are concerned. We refuse to admit that we are wrong when our own feelings are on the line, afraid to own up to the fact that we judged books by their covers, and failed to seek the truth when getting to know someone simply because of a single prejudgment.

Surely, this rendition of Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” can be held at high regards, as the stellar performances of the entire cast truly enhanced the meaning and message of the play itself. The witty humor embodied by each character effectively communicated the absurdity of the priorities in 19th-century England, while the raw emotions manifested on stage, that proved the depth of each couple’s love, tugged on each and every audience member’s heartstrings. The talent at Center Stage surely knows how to capture the magnificence of theatre and is truly a worthwhile place to appreciate and celebrate the performing arts.

Feature Image: Peter Watson Photo, Courtesy of Flickr URL

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Pride and Prejudice at Center Stage: A Review