Jane’s World

Langham Court Theatre puts on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Few of the classics have been performed or adapted as often as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a testament both to the quality of the original and the beloved position it holds in people’s hearts and minds.

Not only has the 1813 novel enjoyed a variety of film, television and stage adaptations, but the literary world has also delivered a wide variety of novels inspired by the original – everything from the quirky Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to P.D. James’ recent homage, Death Comes to Pemberley.

Now, local theatre fans are eagerly awaiting Victoria playwright Janet Munsil’s awardw-winning adaptation, playing at Langham Court Theatre Oct. 2 to 18.

Munsil, who has penned her own historical plays, was asked to create the adaptation in 2012 for a co-production between a Calgary theatre company and the National Arts Council. With three months to write, “I just read the book over and over and listened to the audio book until I felt I had absorbed the plot. I just started to write from there and let my brain pick out what was important,” Munsil says, noting while the play initially came in at four hours long, judicious editing brought it down to just 2 1/2 hours, including intermission.

While Darcy fans may be shocked to hear it, Pride and Prejudice actually “isn’t my favourite Jane Austen story. I have to say I love Northanger Abbey,” Munsil says with a smile.

That said, she obviously holds a warm place for the familiar characters, including smart, independent Elizabeth, her patient, kind older sister Jane, parents Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, and the many other characters populating Regency England.

“I wanted my version to highlight the comedy in in the story and in Jane Austen’s writing because I find it’s often seen as dramatic, but they’re in fact (witty) and fun,” Munsil says. “I set out to write as true to Jane’s writing as I could while being understandable.”

Certain social conventions that can be easily explained in a novel are more challenging to explain on stage without considerable extra dialogue, for example.

While some of the book’s characters and scenes have been eliminated for the sake of brevity, and certain scenes condensed and adapted to advance the story, Austen fans and newcomers alike will find a lot to like in the production, says director Judy Treloar.

The large cast of characters of all ages has offered much opportunity for local actors, not to mention choreographer Sylvia Hosie, charged with crafting the early 19th-century dance sequences for the production.

“I love young people and how their heads work so we’re having an amazing time,” Treloar says, commending the work of her your stars, including Melissa Taylor as Elizabeth and Montgomery Bjornson as Darcy, who fans will remember from his recent turn in a very different role as The Graduate’s Benjamin Braddock.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Vancouver Island Coast Salish artist unveils new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Alan Tudyk stars as Alien Harry Vanderspeigel in the new series Resident Alien (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY)
Resident Alien brings Vancouver Island to the small screen with January premiere

Quirky series shot in Ladysmith will air every Wednesday on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel

Comox-based cinematographer Maxwel Hohn’s new documentary captures the lives of Vancouver Island’s coastal wolves. Photo courtesy Maxwel Hohn.
New mini-documentary shot on Vancouver Island echoes the ‘call of the coastal wolves’

Photography heavyweights from B.C. come together for Maxwel Hohn’s second wildlife documentary

The 2021 Victoria Film Festival includes Vancouver Island produced feature film All-in Madonna. The festival looks a bit different this year, but film-lovers can still expect a full and diverse lineup. (Courtesy of VFF)
Victoria Film Festival returns with virtual viewing

Lineup features 50 films including Vancouver Island-produced All-in Madonna

Joy Sharpe holds a picture of her late husband Ray while posing for a photograph with the Sybil Andrews painting ‘hauling’ before donating it to the Campbell River Hospice Society. (Submitted photo)
$6 painting turned into $10,000 charity windfall

A 1952 original Sybil Andrews painting donation fetches Campbell River Hospice Society a nice return

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

The pantomime ‘Snow White and the 5 Dwarfs’ has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Submitted)
Pantomime cancelled in Cowichan due to COVID restrictions

A partnership of the Cowichan Musical Society, the Shawnigan Players, and the Mercury Players.

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Work on Hornby Island Arts Centre to start this month

Community worked with award-winning architectural firm on design

Western Edge Theatre artistic director Brian March and local theatre artists Brianna Hamilton and Daniel Puglas (from left) make up Western Edge’s new team of “artistic associates.” (News Bulletin file photos/Courtney Harder)
Nanaimo theatre company adds younger, diverse voices to artistic team

Western Edge hopes new ‘artistic associates’ will help form new ideas, reach new audiences

Sara Lopez Assu says she’s relatively happy with how the Campbell River Art Gallery team managed to weather the storm that was 2020. File Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River Art Gallery director reflects on ‘maybe our hardest year ever’

‘It would be easy to look back and be disappointed … but that’s not going to get us anywhere’

Jean Crowder, former MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan, is the CVPAG honourary chair. (Submitted)
Art gallery group becomes registered charity in step towards realizing Duncan dream

Becoming a registered charity enables the CVPAG to greatly expand its potential donor base

From left to right; Jessica Kelly; Allaina Moore; Ben Rosnau; and Isaiah McAleese. Members of the ECHO Players Youth Group after they performed ‘Words, Words, Words’ by David Ives, in May 2019. (submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach youth theatre group looks at more livestream performances in 2021

Members stay active during pandemic with playwriting competitions and online play readings

Nanaimo artist Shawnda Wilson’s Jacana No. 1 is among the paintings she’ll have on display in her upcoming show at the Nanaimo Musuem. (Photo courtesy Shawnda Wilson)
Painting exhibit inspired by long-toed birds and jazz coming to Nanaimo Museum

Nanaimo artist Shawnda Wilson’s show ‘When Charles Speaks’ opens next week

Most Read