Stage North's Pride and Prejudice 'a great experience' for director

Maybe you’ve read the book, but now you can watch Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice come to life with a stage adaptation brought to you by Stage North and director Jenn Merrett.

Merrett said Pride and Prejudice was one of her favorite novels, but couldn’t find a stage adaptation that she liked.

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“One of the ones I found had cut two of the sisters. There’s five Bennet sisters, and the whole impetus of the play is getting the girls married off so that the mother doesn’t have to support them when dad dies, because when dad dies all of the money goes away, it goes to a cousin, because that’s the way inheritance worked then,” she explained.

“I just felt that it kind of really cut down the push behind the story, the motivation, because if you’ve only got three to marry off instead of five, it’s less weight on you, right?”

Another adaptation cut out the dancing, which was not an option for Merrett.

“It irritates me when plays do that because you go to plays to watch people do things, you don’t go to a play to watch them talk about what happened.”

Merrett’s solution was to write her own adaptation. It took her two months, and includes all five sisters and plenty of dancing.

It also includes all the things that the audience would expect from Austen: verbal sparring, drama, romance and comedy.

“I’ve always looked at Pride and Prejudice as a comedy,” she said. “I understand there’s drama too, but for me it was always funny.”

This isn’t her first time in the director’s chair. Merrett directed the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Chicago, and has been a member of Stage North since 2001.

This production was a little different, and she said it was a little bit of a learning curve. “Overall it’s been a great experience, I’ve had a fantastic cast who have worked tirelessly for me since October,” she said.

The play has two more shows at the North Peace Cultural Centre — Feb. 19 and 21.

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