Witty adaptation of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ coming to UMass Boston’s theatre


Poster for the theatrical production of “Pride and Prejudice” at UMass Boston.

Katrina Sanville, Arts Editor

UMass Boston’s theatre company plans to return with another production of a timeless tale this spring. And this time, it’s a fiery and hilarious adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel “Pride and Prejudice.”
The Theatre Arts department of UMass Boston finished their auditions for Kate Hamill’s adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice”—a witty, raunchy and irreverent adaptation of Austen’s classic story of the Bennet family and their daughter Lizzy’s woes with the seemingly insufferable Mr. Darcy—on Feb. 2, with callbacks on Feb. 3.
This production was originally slated to be staged in Spring 2020, however, due to COVID-19 and classes being moved to remote learning in the midst of the semester, the production had been halted and later canceled. However, although much of the original cast has graduated, some members still remain, and they—as well as new members from all parts of the UMass Boston community—will make up the cast.
“It’s very exhilarating to come back and not only finish what we started, but also it feels like beginning something entirely new,” said senior Ema Almon, who played Lydia/Lady Catherine de Bourgh in the original production back in 2020, but will now be playing Lizzy. “I’m in a completely different position than I was two years ago, so it’s very, very exciting.”
However, most members of the cast are brand new to the production, and some are completely new to acting.
“I’m looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone. I’ve never done anything like this before—I was very surprised when I got a callback. This whole experience is very new for me, I’ve never sat down at a table like that before or seen a real script—it’s inspiring, I like it,” said senior Amanda Edwards, who is playing Mr. Wickham/Miss Bingley. Edwards said she was inspired to audition after seeing that only one person in the cast of “Romeo and Juliet” was Black out of the BIPOC cast members, and she wanted to try and inspire someone else to do the same and possibly audition for future productions at UMass Boston.
For those who may not be interested in seeing this production purely because it’s an adaptation of a book written in 1813, try not to close your minds off to the possibility of buying tickets just yet. The play takes the Jane Austen and “Pride and Prejudice” many may be familiar with—from reading the novel or watching either the 1995 BBC miniseries or 2005 film—and flips it completely on its head using caricatures of the existing characters and overdramatics in both the dialogue and stage directions. The show also takes a refreshing approach by modern theatre’s standards in deliberately writing roles that require cross-dressing and double-casting, which many actors in the production will have to do.
“I hope to bring contrast to the show,” said third year Sky Chin, who will be playing Jane/Miss de Bourgh. “I’m playing two different characters at the moment, but I do happen to be playing the same gender—a lot of people in the show are playing two different genders, so I’m excited to differentiate it because it is so fun.”
While the overdramatics may make the plot and characters feel disconnected to some, the core of the show still has themes many UMass Boston students can relate to.
“There’s still some elements of traditional values that have stuck around—values of beauty and of family,” said director Carrie Ann Quinn. “I also think this play is about shame, about being ashamed of your family, about being ashamed of who you love, not loving the right people, and I think it brings up those kinds of things, which are very contemporary issues.”
The Theatre Arts department at UMass Boston’s production of “Pride and Prejudice” will perform six shows in April, from April 7 through April 14. More information about buying tickets will come out closer to the performance dates. To stay up to date, follow the Performing Arts department at UMass Boston on Twitter @UMBPerforming, and Instagram @umassbostonperformingarts, as well as watch for posters about performances on campus!