PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: Meeting Members of the Cast & Crew, Part 4

PnP Pride-and-Prejudice-publicity

By Anne Flinders

“It’s a distinct pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

Brigham Young University’s world premiere production of Melissa Leilani Larson’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice opens this week. Coinciding with opening weekend, we want to introduce you to some of the people behind the scenes and on the stage of this exciting new play. Following is the fourth and final part in a series of interviews with cast members and designers whose work you will see when you see the show.

Karli Hall as Elizabeth Bennet and Ted S. Bushman as Mr. Darcy in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Karli Hall as Elizabeth Bennet and Ted S. Bushman as Mr. Darcy in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

TED BUSHMAN, MR. DARCY, BYU STUDENT

“Mr. Darcy is a man of whom very little wrong can be said.” 

Ted is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he grew up with one brother and three sisters.

Ted shared with us the journey he has taken as an artist creating the role of Mr. Darcy for this production. He said it began when he worked with Melissa Leilani Larson, the playwright, in the workshop of this play during fall semester, 2012. Ted recalls this as a delightful time. He read Darcy for the workshop from the beginning because, he says, “I was the solemnest jerk in the class.” Ted describes watching the script grow as a wonderful process.  For creating the character Ted said, “I had read the book in high school but had never seen any of the films, so I just brought to Darcy what I thought would work. I think Mel’s Mr. Darcy has always been a little funnier, a little more likely to keep a little hidden smile, and also very emotional despite his facade of complete indifference. I’ve enjoyed bringing myself to the character and working with Mel to make something interesting.”

Ted S. Bushman, appearing in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Ted S. Bushman, appearing in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Ted told us that the other part of the journey took place in rehearsals. “Trust is the key to a good acting relationship, and working with Karli [Karli Hall, who plays Elizabeth Bennet] is a joy because we are such good friends. She and I have become very classical actors in the last year; we played Brutus and Portia in Julius Caesar for Conservatory, which Barta also directed. I think both of us have a deep love of language.  In an early rehearsal, Barta told us that we were machine gun-mouthing it too much, just spitting out the language and not taking time to savor it. We’ve worked together on really attempting to embody these extremely famous characters as ourselves, and I think we’ve succeeded.”

We asked Ted if it’s always been acting for him. “I wanted to act from a young age,” he said. “My siblings were all younger and more adorable than me, and so in order to get my parents’ attention I would make puppet shows, or draw out stories, and just try and get them to listen to what I had to say. My mother put me in a choir, which I hated and eventually led to me studying Musical Theater, which I love.”  Ted also read every book about dragons he could find in the library, and moved on to other types of literature. He writes plays now, composes music, and continues to love acting.

For Ted, part of the message of the play is an affirmation that things can work out in relationships, and that they don’t have to work out in the way expected or in accordance with societal norms. “Everybody says the message of Pride and Prejudice is about first impressions.  I don’t think that, though, or at least that’s not the message that draws me. Mr. Darcy and Lizzie are a match for each other intellectually and socially, despite what others say.”

KARLI HALL, ELIZABETH BENNET, BYU STUDENT

She has a wit that both disarms and pleases…I may find myself in some certain danger.”

Karli is from Seattle, Washington and is a senior in BYU’s Acting Program. “I’m the youngest of five daughters so Pride and Prejudice has always occupied a special place in the hearts of my family members, as the Bennets share that with us. The love and gratitude I have for my family defies the description of human language and has opened my heart up to everything that matters most. It is truly because of them that I’m at BYU right now, pursuing my deepest passion.”

Karli Hall, appearing as Elizabeth Bennet in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Karli Hall, appearing as Elizabeth Bennet in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

We asked Karli if it’s always been acting for her. “Since I was a young child, I’ve always been performing and entertaining my family members with songs, jokes, and home movies.” It wasn’t until high school that she began considering acting as something that she might continue doing throughout her life. “I left my few years in the drama club with a new burning pursuit that I took with me to BYU. I knew right away when I got here and took my first theatre class that this was something I wanted and was supposed to be doing, and that BYU was the place I should be.”

Karli shared with us that while she has always loved the theatre, her plans to continue acting outside of university primarily center on film work. “I’ve always been interested in film acting and am grateful that BYU has such a solid film program.”

Some of Karli’s interests include  reading, baking, rock climbing, biking, and expanding her love for music, especially played on lo-fi technology. “A record player stands as one of my most cherished domestic features.” Most of all, she loves spending time with the people she love. “I need them more than I need anything, and I only hope I can give as much support as they’ve given me, especially my husband, who has been the foundation for me amid the storms of the past two semesters. He is truly my Mr. Darcy.”

Be sure to get your tickets soon; the show is almost sold out!

Special matinee performance Monday, March 31st at 4pm.

An Introduction to THE SELFISH GIANT

by Tara Haas, dramaturg

Welcome all and thanks for joining me on the 4th WALL. I will be your dramaturg for The Selfish Giant, and will be updating this blog weekly with all kinds of behind the scenes information. The Selfish Giant, an original story by Oscar Wilde, has been adapted for the stage by BYU’s own Teresa Love. As an endearing family show, this production will incorporate many fun and exciting elements, with a large emphasis on puppetry. The designers and production team have been hard at work creating and constructing in their specific areas, and the cast begins rehearsals next week. I am very excited to move into the rehearsal process, and to keep you all informed in the process of creating this wonderful show. Make sure you keep this one on your radar because you do not want to miss it!

Selfish-Giant-Online-Art-580x200

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: Meeting Members of the Cast & Crew, Part 3

PnP Pride-and-Prejudice-publicity

By Anne Flinders

“It’s a distinct pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

Brigham Young University’s world premiere production of Melissa Leilani Larson’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice opens this week. Coinciding with opening weekend, we want to introduce you to some of the people behind the scenes and on the stage of this exciting new play. Following is the third part in a series of interviews with cast members and designers whose work you will see when you see the show.

REBEKAH SILVER JACKSON, ASSISTANT COSTUME DESIGNER, BYU STUDENT

“Oh, Miss Bennet. That is such a lovely color on you.”

Rebekah S. Jackson, asst. costume designer, BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Rebekah S. Jackson, asst. costume designer, BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Rebekah is from Mapleton, Utah where she spent much of her time hiking, horseback riding, sewing and crafting. She says she always wanted to attend BYU. She is a Theatre Art Studies major with Costume Design as her emphasis. The extent of her theatre experience before attending BYU was a small play in sixth grade!

This is Rebekah’s first time assisting or designing for a show. She says, “I have learned a lot from Melanie Lamb, the costume designer, as we worked through the research, concept, sketches, final designs, shopping and fittings together. It has been particularly fun to work on the costumes of the Bennet sisters, as I have my own four sisters who remind me of them sometimes!”

To Rebekah, an important message in the play is how Jane Austen shows how family can be one’s best support in difficult times. “The important thing that we learn from Elizabeth’s example is that while she does not condone some of her family’s actions, she never abandons them and continues to love them throughout the play. She remains a friend with them all, and learns from both the good and bad of their decisions.

ALLYSON THAXTON, GEORGIANA DARCY/HILL, BYU STUDENT 

“How I long to see Miss Darcy again! Such a countenance, such manners.”

Allyson Thaxton, appearing as Hill & Georgiana Darcy in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Allyson Thaxton, appearing as Hill & Georgiana Darcy in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Allyson comes from a military family from San Antonio, Texas. As a family tradition and desire, BYU was her number one choice for college. Besides her interest in theatre, there are other activities Allyson enjoys as well. “I am a member of the BYU Ballroom Dance Company; I love to compete and perform in that. I also enjoy interior design, especially in homes.”

Allyson told us that she loves the book Pride and Prejudice, so it was a natural choice for her to audition. “I was excited when I got in, but it has been difficult to be a character without any spoken lines, especially since I had quite a few in the last main stage I was in.” Allyson says, “I have had to learn to love my roles because they are the extra little details that make the play. Consequently I have enjoyed exploring my two characters and their thoughts and feelings regarding other characters [in the play].”

The message Allyson hopes to share through BYU’s production of Pride and Prejudice is that sometimes the road to gaining true love can be difficult. There will be trials and bumps thrown in the way. “But despite this, love can overcome anything if it is set with the right mind and attitude, setting aside our differences and prideful attributes.”

LOGAN HAYDEN, COLONEL FITZWILLIAM, ASSISTANT LIGHTING DESIGNER, ASSISTANT SCENIC DESIGNER, BYU STUDENT

“We have already met, oh, so many fine-looking officers.”

Logan Hayden, asst. lighting and scenic design; also appearing as Colonel Fitzwilliam in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Logan Hayden, asst. lighting and scenic design; also appearing as Colonel Fitzwilliam in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Logan Hayden, clearly a jack-of-all-theatre-trades, is from Arbon, Idaho. In choosing to come to BYU, Logan said, “My dad and all his siblings attended BYU years ago, but all of my five siblings went other places. [Eventually], however, they were all lead to the promised land of BYU. (Well, all but one traitor who did his grad school at the U, but we try to not speak of him.) I attended BYU-I, and served a mission in Oaxaca, Mexico.

When I returned to school, my brother who was attending BYU and I would tease each other about which was the “true” church school. One day I was reading my weekly emails and Austin teased me about taking care that our sister Chelsea not get to me; that she was going to try to convince me to move down so we could all be close. I let out a few hearty laughs but the 3rd or 4th got caught in my throat as I thought, “Wait… Why don’t I transfer?” A week later after prayer & pondering, I decided to make the switcheroo. And that is the epic tale of how this Arbon-ite Idahoan ended up in the Happy Valley!”

KRISTIN PERKINS, CAROLINE BINGLEY, BYU STUDENT

“I sense an invasion.”

Kristin Perkins, appearing as Caroline Bingley in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Kristin Perkins, appearing as Caroline Bingley in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

We asked Kristin if it’s always been acting for her. “My mom put me in a YMCA theatre camp when I was really young with the logic that it would somehow help me get over my shyness. I’m not sure it did but I did find a passion in creating stories and forming characters. I figure it is for similar reasons that I have always enjoyed reading and writing. As a child I ran around the backyard with a stick pretending to be an elf, and last year I was published in Inscape, BYU’s journal for literature and art, with a short story. My current pursuits in writing and art don’t seem all that different.”

Kristin told us that playing Caroline Bingley has been a really exciting opportunity for her. “She is different from me in many ways, but underneath the layers and layers of pretense Caroline puts on there is an insecure woman capable of loving and hurting.”

When we asked her what she felt the message she wants to convey through this production is, Kristin shared this with us: “For me that awareness [of Caroline’s insecurities] has been the theme and thesis in my journey through Pride and Prejudice: that relationships require a give, a take and, most importantly, a risk. As misinformed and ill-conceived as Caroline’s attempts to pursue Mr. Darcy are, there is still vulnerability in her desire and that is something I truly believe everyone in the audience can relate to. This is where I found my connection to the character and to the story. Investing in another person is often scary and confusing, and inherently puts us in a position of being unprotected, even exposed. Sometimes it works out, like for Elizabeth and Darcy, and sometimes it doesn’t, like for Caroline, but there is always something beautiful in the attempt to connect.”

 

Be sure to get your tickets soon; they are going fast!

 

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: Meeting Members of the Cast & Crew, Part 2

PnP Pride-and-Prejudice-publicity

By Anne Flinders, dramaturg

“It’s a distinct pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

Brigham Young University’s world premiere production of Melissa Leilani Larson’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice opens this week. Coinciding with opening weekend, we want to introduce you to some of the people behind the scenes and on the stage of this exciting new play. Following is the second part in a series of interviews with cast members and designers whose work you will see when you see the show.

SHANNON HENSLEY, HAIR AND MAKEUP DESIGNER, BYU STUDENT

“You are and always will be the loveliest woman in the room.”

Shannon Hensley, Hair and Makeup Designer

Shannon Hensley, Hair and Makeup Designer

Shannon is from Spring, Texas; a town just north of Houston. She came to BYU as a freshman hoping to be an actress and ended up in the makeup design programs, and she says she loves it!

For Shannon, this play has been all about collaboration. “I think each of the designers had a vision for what the show would look like,” she said, “and it’s been a great experience being part of the collaboration process. Now that it’s finally coming to actualization, it’s nice to see a bit of every designer on the stage. It’s almost like a little piece of each of our hearts is out there, and I can’t wait until everyone can see what I’ve been seeing in my head for the past six months or so.”

Shannon shared with us that something the makeup team tried to create with their designs was the ability to be able to instantly recognize each character as part of a family unit, so that the audience can tell just by looking at each character not only who they are related to, put who they are close to as well. “I think that’s one of the messages that I love from the show; it’s our relationships that help define who we are, for better or for worse. We get to see the journey that many of the characters take as they learn that how they take care of their relationships really defines who they are.  Hopefully those who watch the show will walk away thinking about their own relationships, whether it be with family or friends, and how they can improve or perhaps even mend them.”

JACOB SWAIN, MR. COLLINS, BYU STUDENT

“I think it a right thing for a clergyman to be the example for matrimony in his parish.”

Jacob Swain, appearing as Mr Collins in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Jacob Swain, appearing as Mr Collins in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Jake is a member of a family of nine from Orem, UT. His dad is an accounting professor and, believe it or not, a lot of Jake’s passion for acting comes from him.

We asked Jake, “For you, what has the journey of this play entailed so far?” Here is what he shared with us about the journey of creating the character of Mr. Collins. “Well, [initially] my Mr. Collins began pretty . . . creepy. Overtly creepy even. As the show has progressed I realized that I was wrong about Mr. Collins. He is just trying his hardest to be debonair and well-spoken and important—all the things that people seem to be so attracted to around him. But he just doesn’t know how to do that. So he falls flat on his face time and time again. And as socially unaware as he sometimes appears, I think he can tell when he’s made a complete fool of himself. And it hurts, perhaps more than anyone would suspect.”

AUSTIN JENSEN, MR. BINGLEY, BYU STUDENT

“Why go to war, when we might have a ball instead?” 

Austin Jensen, appearing as Mr Bingley in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Austin Jensen, appearing as Mr Bingley in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Austin is one of five children from Sandy, Utah. He served a mission in the Honduras Comayaguela Mission. Now back in Provo, He is fully submersed in his studies, working on a double major in Sociology and Spanish with a minor in International Development.

Austin shared with us what the journey of this show has entailed for him. He says, “It has been [one] of finding the similarities and differences between me and Mr. Bingley, and then learning to portray all those differences in a way that’s loyal to Bingley’s character. I have been fascinated with exploring an entire culture that is emphasized with dialect and strict social etiquette. It is a blast!”

“One of my greatest fears is unmet potential,” Austin candidly stated. “Lizzy Bennett also fears having a life that is distant from her hopes and dreams. Through the story of each character, [we] see how judging others and passing uninformed judgments causes us to suppress the potential [in] other people: our family members, our loved ones and our friends.” For Austin, an important message the audience can take away is this: “I hope that people can see how Mr. Bingley and Jane strive to live life with sincerity. They act upon personal feeling to direct their actions. They are good examples to the other characters, but more so to the audience. “Plus,” he adds, “Bingley is just a gentleman! We need more gentlemen in the world.”

AUBREY REYNOLDS, JANE BENNETT, BYU STUDENT

“She’s an angel. I couldn’t conceive of one more—beautiful.”

Aubrey is from Dallas, Texas. “Born and raised – a true Texan. I came to BYU four years ago to pursue a BFA in Acting and I am graduating in April! Yay!”

 

Aubrey Reynolds, appearing as Jane Bennet in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Aubrey Reynolds, appearing as Jane Bennet in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

“Acting is my true passion,” Aubrey told us. “I love it and when I’m not in the theatre I’m at the movie theater watching films. I’m a little obsessed with movies and hope to be in them someday soon.” We asked her if she has any hobbies or interests outside her passion for acting. “I love backpacking and exploring nature. I am like a sunflower and am so drawn to the sunlight. Other than that, I love to play the piano and sing and read, and among other things I bake a rather good pecan pie.”

When asked where she finds a message in the play that she might share with others, Aubrey said, “What I like about Jane is she doesn’t go searching for anything. She has no grand expectations, and is always true to herself.” The most important message she takes away personally is this: “Look for the joy and love within people, and true joy and love will find you. Don’t succumb to what people might say, or even the prejudices of others. Love yourself no matter what happens and keep faith in those around you – it’ll all work out in the end!”

PEARL CORRY, MARY BENNET, BYU STUDENT

“We would love to hear a reading from Proverbs, should you care to—” 

Pearl Corry (self-portrait), appearing as Mary Bennet in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Pearl Corry (self-portrait), appearing as Mary Bennet in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Pearl is from Honolulu, Hawai’i, and is in her second semester at BYU. “I enjoy throwing paint around, taking public transport, writing poetry, eating kale salad, listening to Philip Glass, and spending time with my family.” Pearl is an art major. “But,” she says, “I am hopelessly in love with the theatre and am excited to find ways to combine the two in the future. Both are such great modes of communication.”

We asked Pearl about her experience as a freshman in a main stage Brigham Young University production. She was effervescent in her joy because of this journey. “I cannot think on my involvement in this play without a deep sense of gratitude. My fellow cast members are an endless source of inspiration. The production crew works SO hard! They are the epitome of teamwork. I am grateful to my character, Mary, for allowing me to step into her shoes. I am amazed at how much I learn about her every day. And the more I learn about her, the more I learn about myself.”

Of the messages in Pride and Prejudice Pearl states: I love the way this play deals with the juxtaposition of one’s own ideals and the real-life occurrences that often challenge them. Every character must deal with this reality—from Mrs. Bennet to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, from Georgiana to Mr. Collins. Change is indeed the very essence of life. (I’m sure that’s in one of Mr. Fordyce’s sermons somewhere.)”

 

Be sure to get your tickets soon; they are going fast!

 

 

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: Meet Members of the Cast & Crew, Part 1

PnP Pride-and-Prejudice-publicity

By Anne Flinders, dramaturg

“It’s a distinct pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

Brigham Young University’s world premiere production of Melissa Leilani Larson’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice opens tonight! Coinciding with opening weekend, we want to introduce you to some of the people behind the scenes and on the stage of this exciting new play. Following are excerpts from interviews with cast members and designers whose work you will see when you come to the show. Over the next few days we will introduce you to more of the cast and staff.

RORY SCANLON, SCENIC DESIGNER, BYU FACULTY MEMBER

“When you build your house, I wish it might be half as sublime as Pemberley.”

Rory Scanlon, scenic designer, BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Rory Scanlon, scenic designer, BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Rory Scanlon has taught at BYU for 30 years. One of the things Professor Scanlon enjoys about teaching here is that the production schedule allows students and faculty to work together on projects.

Of working on Pride and Prejudice Professor Scanlon says, “This play has been a challenge because it requires 44 locations and 64 scene changes!  Plus, we want to make all of this happen without any breaks, in front of the audience’s eyes.”

When we asked Professor Scanlon what message from the play he would like to convey, he responded, “For me Pride and Prejudice speaks to how we view ourselves and those around us.  We make judgment calls daily, but we might want to remember that these decisions are based on our limited knowledge and personal prejudices. When we recognize ourselves as faulty characters, we can then understand that others are also only human.”

BECKY MASKELL, ANNE de BOURGH, BYU STUDENT

“She is so very—small.”

Becky Maskell, appearing as Anne de Bourgh in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Becky Maskell, appearing as Anne de Bourgh in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Becky is from Temecula, CA.  She actually went to community college to save money and avoid going to BYU.  “When I think of how I got to BYU,” she says, “I think of the line in [the animated film] Kung Fu Panda: ‘One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.’  That is exactly what happened to me and I am so grateful it did.” Becky is graduating from BYU this April with a B.A. in Theatre Arts.

Becky shared with us that acting was her dream, and it still is.  “I didn’t get a passion for it until I was 12 years old and I’ve been doing it ever since.  However, I was very blessed to learn that acting isn’t my whole life.  Theatre will always be a part of my life, but it is only one of many that make up the whole.”

Becky told us that for her, the journey of this play has offered her the opportunity to have a small role where she can spend rehearsals “watching and working with incredibly talented actors.  I feel like I have learned so much from them.  My favorite part about working on any show is my cast family.  There’s a lot of hard work that goes into a show, but we also goof around and have fun.  We can’t take ourselves too seriously.”

MARVIN PAYNE, MR BENNET, GUEST ARTIST

“What an excellent father you have, girls.”

Marvin Payne, appearing as Mr Bennet in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Marvin Payne, appearing as Mr Bennet in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Marvin is from Southern California, but has lived in Alpine, Utah, for forty years. He says, “I came to Utah to attend BYU and just stayed.”

Here is how Marvin described his introduction to acting: “I was seduced into acting at age 33 (the year hobbits come of age). Before and during my acting adventures I have been a songwriter, guitar-picker, playwright, and all-purpose wordsmith.”

We asked Marvin what the journey of making this play has been like for him. He told us that for him this play has included a lot of introspection, “asking myself how much I’m like my character; the answer to which turns out to be, ‘A lot.’ My character’s journey is from amused casual involvement with the people in his world to a realization of how much he really needs and loves them.”

LAURA WARDLE, MRS BENNET, GUEST ARTIST

“One must make sacrifices to win a husband. That’s a valuable lesson for you all.”

Laura Wardle, appearing as Mrs Bennet in BYU's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Laura Wardle, appearing as Mrs Bennet in BYU’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Laura was born in Brooklyn and raised in upstate New York. She met her husband Tom while they were both students at BYU, and they have been married for almost 33 years. They have two children who also have academic roots at BYU. Her family moved to Midway, Utah, last year.

Laura took a twenty plus year hiatus from the stage. This past fall, however, she returned to acting in the Covey Art Center’s production of Agatha Christie’s The Unexpected Guest, which was directed by Barta Heiner. “I hadn’t planned on doing another show quite so soon,” Laura told us, “but when Barta called to ask if I would be interested in auditioning for the part of Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice it sounded like too much fun to pass up! It has been a joy to bring Mel Larson’s wonderful adaptation of P&P to life.”

Laura served on the Motion Picture Association of America Ratings Board, the twelve person panel that applies the G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17 rating to more than 600 films annually. She also loves volunteer work. While living in New Jersey she spent 10 years volunteering at The Seeing Eye, the oldest school for guide dogs for the blind in the world. She also volunteers for BYU’s Lacrosse team, selling tee shirts, sweatshirts and other team gear at home games. (Her son will return to playing for the team when he comes home from serving a mission). She loves 19th Century British literature, hiking with her black lab, and all things Disney.

It’s the hottest ticket in town! Be sure to get your tickets soon; they’re going fast!

A Compilation of Interviews about BYU’s ‘A Man for All Seasons’

by Adam White, dramaturg

A Man for All Seasons fares well with audiences and critics alike! The show is sold out, and those of us who’ve worked on this production feel very proud of that.

If you haven’t seen the show, didn’t get a ticket in time, or just missed the lobby display while at the performance, check out this eight minute clip of interviews that we are featuring in the lobby display!

A huge thanks to our interviewees (Brandie Siegfried and Rick Duerden from the English Department and Joseph Skousen and Mallory Gee, two members of our cast), as well as Bobbie Lee, our editor and filmmaker.

Enjoy!

TECH HAPPENS

By Anne Flinders, dramaturg

Brigham Young University’s production of Pride and Prejudice opens this coming Friday,
March 21st, which means the week leading up to those final dress rehearsals and opening night is dedicated to technical rehearsals, a.k.a. tech week. This is the week the cast begins rehearsing on the set in the Pardoe Theatre; the lights are hung, focused and finalized by the light designer and crew; the sound is equipped and cued by the sound designer; the set dressings and props are labeled and placed, and the costumes are “paraded” (or worn by the actors onstage) for one last, long, decisive look by the costume designer and staff. This is the week everything–the writing, acting and technical theatre–comes together.

The Bennets onstage for the first time, rehearsal corsets and all!

The Bennets onstage for the first time, rehearsal corsets and all!

Culminating tech week at BYU is a Saturday technical rehearsal known as a 10-out-of-12. This rehearsal is pretty much what it sounds like: a 12-hour day in which 10 hours are spent working the technical aspects into the show with the actors, broken up by two one-hour breaks. The rehearsal is run cue-to-cue, meaning the actors play a scene at the beginning of a cue and then skip to the end of that scene and the beginning of the next. This gives the technical crew opportunities to work their cues into the context of the play’s flow without having to wait for entire scenes to be played.

The Bennets enjoy a lengthy technical theatre pause in the parlour.

The Bennets enjoy a lengthy technical theatre pause in the parlour.

Tech rehearsal also means the actors spend a lot of time waiting…waiting for lighting adjustments to be made, waiting for sound cues to be replayed, and waiting to learn where that prop will be laid. All that waiting means one thing…social media! Below are pics and posts that were made during tech week for Pride and Prejudice.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE TECH WEEK with pictures from Becky Maskell, Lindsay Clark, Hillary Straga and Melissa Leilani Larson, our guides for this social media tour.

10-out-of-12 tech rehearsal with Becky Maskell and Allyson Thaxton

10-out-of-12 tech rehearsal with Becky Maskell and Allyson Thaxton

 Becky Maskell:  And. Here. We. Go! Welcome to tech week errybody! Today is a day of patience, long suffering, temperance, etc. Welcome to 12 hour tech rehearsal. So grateful for our awesome cast & crew. Let the bonding commence!

BECKY MASKELL selfie.

BECKY MASKELL  alla rehearsal corset under that stylin’ jacket

Another rehearsal corset, this time on HIllary Straga (playing Lady Catherine de Bourgh)

Another rehearsal corset, this time worn by Hillary Straga (playing Lady Catherine de Bourgh)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becky Maskell: Rehearsal corset. Apparently it’s the latest fashion…

 

The actors portraying the Bennet family await lighting and sound cues to be finalized.

The actors portraying the Bennet family await lighting and sound cues to be finalized.

Melissa Leilani Larson: A letter from Jane.

 

Almost all the cast parading costumes for the Netherfield Ball scene.

Almost all the cast parading costumes for the Netherfield Ball scene.

Comments below this picture include: “All those lovely gowns.” “And regimentals!” “What a fun pic!” “This makes me feel excited to see the play!”

 

Lindsay Clark: Our lovely set.

A long pause as the cast waits (again) for the crew.

A long pause as the cast waits (again) for the crew. Great art takes great patience.

 

Becky Maskell: 8 hrs down…4 to go! We got this! 

Becky Maskell as the day wears on...

Becky Maskell as the day wears on…

Lizzy and Mr. Collins techin' each other out.

Lizzy and Mr. Collins “techin'” each other out. (See what we did there?)

Taking a long look at the full stage for PRIDE AND PREJUCIDE.

Taking a long look at the full stage for PRIDE AND PREJUCIDE. Characters being introduced as portraits within frames.

Logan Hayden: Among the frames I have worked on for PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Melissa Leilani Larson: Woohoo Logan!

Lindsay Clark:  …Mr. Collins’ portrait.

Jacob Swain as Mr Collins waiting for lighting effects to be tested.

Jacob Swain as Mr Collins waiting for lighting effects to be tested.

Mr. Collins and Charlotte Lucas--they were framed!

Mr. Collins and Charlotte Lucas–they were framed!

Melissa Leilani Larson: Collins, Charlotte, and a ring to rule them all…

 

Ted Bushman as Mr. Darcy, waiting by the pianoforte.

Ted Bushman as Mr. Darcy, waiting by the pianoforte.

Col. Fitzwilliam and... other things.

Col. Fitzwilliam and… other things.

An admirer on Facebook: Logan, you were born to wear that outfit.  Logan Hayden replies: Awe shucks.

And at the end of a 12-hour day…

Logan Hayden: Prayers ascended, answers descended and now it has ended. For today at least.

All Melissa Leilani Larson wants to know is….

Pre- or post- tech rehearsal? @Denny's....

@ Denny’s: Pre- or post- tech rehearsal?

Cymbeline…Continues!

by Nicholas E. Sheets, dramaturg

1401-14 169

Our run of Cymbeline has ended at Brigham Young University as of last month, but our show continues in other locations throughout Utah and Salt Lake Valleys. For more information about our upcoming schedule, please check the following information below. There is still time for your children to see this play if they are in the following schools. Also, there is a retirement home performance still on the schedule.

Thurs. March 13      -9:00 and 10:00 shows, Academy Park Elementary, 4580 Westpoint Dr, West Valley City, 84120

Tues. March 18        -9:00 and 10:00 shows, Sandburg Elementary, 3900 S 5325 W, West Valley City, 84120

Thurs. March 20       -9:00 and 10:00 shows, Riverview Elementary, 628 S. West Park Drive, Spanish Fork, 84660

Tues. March 25        -9:00 and 10:00 shows, Fox Hollow Elementary, 6020 W 8200 S, West Jordan 84081

Thurs. March 27       -9:30 and 10:30 shows, Morningside Elementary, 4170 S. 3000 E. SLC, 84124

Tues. April 1              -9:00 and 10:00 shows, Daybreak Elementary, 4544 W Harvest Moon Drive, South Jordan 84095

Thurs. April 3            -10:00 show, NO WORKSKHOP, American Fork JH – Alpine 6th graders, 20 W. 1120 N. AF, 84003

Tues. April 8              -9:00 and 10:00 shows, Park City Day School, 3120 Pinebrook Rd, Park City, 84098

Thurs. April 10           -10:00 show, NO WORKSHOPS, Highland Cove Retirement Center, 3750 Highland Dr., SLC

Tues. April 15             -9:30 and 10:30 shows, Freedom Elementary, 10326 N. 6800 W., Highland Dr., 84003

For more information about BYU’s Young Company Theater, please visit the following link:

Brigham Young University’s Young Company

 Brigham Young University’s Young Company Facebook Page

It was great to see all those who attended our show while at BYU!

Understanding Thomas More Through His Texts

Utopia by Thomas More

by Adam White, dramaturg

The written word is so ubiquitous in our media-drenched culture today that I, personally, do not stop to consider the gravity of texts of the past nearly as often as I think I should. How can one be so contemplative on the historical function of writing if the pressure is on to keep up with what is being written right now as to stay relevant?

Perhaps this is why I am drawn to the dramaturg’s role; the dramaturg is often called upon to look back and dig deep, and it’s in the looking and the digging that I gain insight into the world of whatever project it is I am working on (Now, how to constructively contribute that insight to a project is a whole other issue…).

In looking and digging for A Man for All Seasons, I have found that Thomas More was quite a prolific author (For a full list of works attributed to More, start here). While Thomas More would become best known for his trial, he also wrote many influential documents. Arguably, the most notable of his works is Utopia, a fictional work about an island society whose form of governance and culture is a striking critique of More’s England. This work would not only introduce the word ‘utopia’ to the English language, but would also open up a whole new genre of Utopian fiction in Europe!

To get a quick taste of More’s writing style, I’ve included quotes from his works below. Maybe this is obvious, but I think its important to note that these words and works point to the man Thomas More was, or at least who he aspired to be. Honestly, after being so immersed in the play A Man For All Seasons, I find his words to be refreshingly sincere.

How do the following quotes influence your understanding of Thomas More?

From History of King Richard III:

“Men use, if they have an evil turn, to write it in marble;

and whoso doth us a good turn, we write it in dust.”

From More’s Utopia:

“What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.”

“Extreme justice is an extreme injury: for we ought not to approve of those terrible laws that make the smallest offences capital… as if there were no difference to be made between the killing a man and the taking his purse, between which, if we examine things impartially, there is no likeness nor proportion.”

“Man’s folly hath enhanced the value of gold and silver because of their scarcity; whereas nature, like a kind parent, hath freely given us the best things, such as air, earth, and water, but hath hidden from us those which are vain and useless.”

From Debellation of Salem and Bizance (1533):

“Heretics be they that obstinately hold any self-minded opinion contrary to the doctrine that the common known Catholic Church teacheth and holdeth for necessary to salvation.”

From A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, which More wrote while in jail (1534):

“I never saw fool yet that thought himself other than wise.”

“Many a man buyeth hell with so much pain, that he might have heaven with less than the one half.”

Some of these quotes are statements you may see embedded on the marvelous set designed by Eric Fielding. I’m writing this as dress rehearsals are beginning, and let me tell you: It’s almost chilling to see Bolt’s play come to life out on an stage informed by More’s own words.

*****

Bibliography:

Duerden, Richard. “A Man for All Seasons.” Telephone interview. 31 Jan. 2014.

“Sir Thomas More Quotes and Quotations.” Sir Thomas More Quotes and Quotations. Luminarium. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

Who Was Jane Austen?

By Anne Flinders, dramaturg

Who was Jane Austen? Where and how did she live? With whom did she associate? How did she become a writer? And what is her legacy? Biographical information concerning Jane Austen is “famously scarce”, but we’ll try to answer at least a few of these questions.

Where did Jane Austen’s begin her life?

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” – Jane Austen

A portrait of Jane Austen, based on a watercolor by Jane's sister, Cassandra.

A portrait of Jane Austen, based on a watercolor by Jane’s sister, Cassandra.

Jane Austen was born on the 16th of December, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. She was the second daughter of a clergyman and his wife, George and Cassandra Austen, and the fifth of seven children. Jane and her sister Cassandra were educated mostly at home after a brief enrollment in a boarding school in Reading, England. She read extensively from her father’s library, practiced playing the pianoforte, and was engaged in the neighborhood society, attending parties and balls. Her brother Henry later said that “Jane was fond of dancing, and excelled in it”.

Who were her companions?

Although her brothers all left the family on reaching adulthood, Jane lived at home her entire life with her sister Cassandra and their mother. When her father retired from the clergy in 1800, the family moved to Bath, England. Mr. Austen died of a sudden illness in 1805 and the family’s financial situation was precarious. The three ladies moved around and about Bath in different locations for the next four years, until Jane’s brother Edward invited them to live in a cottage at Chawton, his estate in Hampshire.

When she was twenty years old, Jane may have enjoyed a brief romance with Tom Lefroy—a young university graduate from Ireland who had come to Steventon to visit his family. This romance was suspected from comments in Jane’s letters to Cassandra: “I am almost afraid to tell you how my Irish friend and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together.” Even in regard to her own interest in a young man she shows her ability to recognize and write irony and wit.

How did Jane Austen begin writing?

When she was a girl, Jane wrote short plays and works of fiction that her family would read aloud for amusement. She also wrote A Brief History of England, a parody of historical writers. Her writings were always funny, and always dealt with matters common to everyday life and the foibles of ordinary people. Even at a relatively early age, Jane was a keen observer of human weaknesses and strengths.

Jane Austen's writing table, on display at Chawton Cottage.

Jane Austen’s writing table, on display at Chawton Cottage.

Jane wrote a full-length novel, First Impressions, in 1796, completing the initial draft in August 1797 when she was only 21. Her father attempted to get the book published, but found no one who would accept the manuscript. However, Jane continued to write and revise her work. Her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, was published in 1811 and was well-received. Jane did not acknowledge herself as the author; the cover page simply read thus: BY A LADY. Jane immediately returned to working on First Impressions.

On 25 January, 1813, Pride and Prejudice, a major revision of First Impressions, was published and released. Again Jane retained her anonymity; the title page identified the book as written BY THE AUTHOR OF SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. The novel was popular; literary circles were talking about it; even the Prince Regent George IV enjoyed it and later asked that Jane dedicate one of her novels to him. Though she disliked the prince, she obliged.

Jane’s Adult Life

Jane Austen never married. She lived with her mother and sister Cassandra at Chawton Cottage, writing and engaging in society there. In 1816 she became ill, but continued to write. Her health worsened, and her sister took her to Winchester to seek medical help. Austen died in Winchester on 18 July 1817, at the age of 41. Jane wrote six novels in all, 2 of which were published posthumously.

JANE AUSTEN’S MAJOR WORKS

Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Northanger Abbey (1818, posthumous), Persuasion (1818, posthumous)

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” – Jane Austen