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The Roar

From “Christmas Carol” to “Pride & Prejudice,” Panther Productions prepares for Fall Play

Photo by: Alexis Lee

Photo by: Alexis Lee

Due to a shortage of male actors, the fall play changed to accommodate the cast

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas for the Panther Production group – that is, until it wasn’t. The first production of the year, the fall play, was slated to be “A Christmas Carol” with a debut in late November. Due to a lack of male actors, lead director Elizabeth Deker made the call to change the production from “A Christmas Carol” to “Pride and Prejudice” – a production that required fewer male leads.

“People like to always ask ‘well what about gender bending?’ I’m not unwilling to do that, but the crux of it was those four different Ebenezer Scrooges that I needed, and I just didn’t have the right actors to be able to pull that off,” said Deker.

Actors were reluctant to let go of the plan for “A Christmas Carol” including junior Thomas Nowak.
“A Christmas Carol is a [story] that everybody loves, and I was especially looking forward to possibly getting the role of Jacob Marley; [the switch] made most people upset, including myself,” said Nowak.

Nowak did score the lead role in “Pride and Prejudice” though, as Mr. Darcy.  “I haven’t read or seen anything from ‘Pride and Prejudice’ before, so I didn’t know how big of a role that was. But once I found out, I was amazed that I could show my talent to Ms. Deker and Mrs. Bird, and [that] they thought that I fit the role perfectly,” said Nowak.

Students are now settled in and preparing for their roles. There are different rehearsal types that students are attending – lead rehearsals and all-cast rehearsals. Junior Magdalena Ray, who plays the part of Charlotte, attends both rehearsals; this has her at the school one to two days a week for two hours a day.

“At rehearsal, I try to focus on my character. I’m [newer] to this, and there are people who I’m good friends with that have more experience, so they can easily go from talking about what they did in English, to being in full character, which is a lot harder for me,” said Ray.

“Pride and Prejudice” tells the story of the Bennett family with a focus on manners, courtship and relationships. Deker has been preparing for the play by watching different adaptations of the story including the BBC miniseries and the Kira Knightly film.

“The great thing about theatrical scripts is that they are so open to interpretation, and as the director, it is my job to guide the actors to find the interpretation that I most want to see presented on stage,” said Deker.

Sophomore Bailey Rosberg, who plays the lead role of Elizabeth Bennett, has also watched the film adaption and even checked out the 2016 horror, action, romance film “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

“I didn’t expect to have the amount of lines that I had, but as of right now, I’m about a quarter through having the script memorized, and how I usually do it is I read through the first couple of pages, and it’s just easier to memorize,” said Rosberg.

The fall play debuts on November 16 at 7 pm. “For anybody who doesn’t know what the story is, it is a soap opera. Think of all the random plot twists you can get from anything on [the TV channel] Free Form. Think about your stereotypical TV drama and put that on stage. And that is what you’re going to see. You are going to see characters trying to manipulate one another. You’re going to see so much sass and snarky remarks everywhere. There are a lot of mic drop moments between Elizabeth and Darcy; they are just sword fighting with words,” said Deker.

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