The first show in our 2018/19 Back to Classics season is one of the most beloved stories of all time: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Playing November 9–17 at the Abby Arts Centre, this witty and charming adaptation of the classic novel will be a perfect night out for families or a that special someone.
To learn more about the production, we asked Adriel Brandt who plays Mr. Darcy to give us some insight into the show!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Have G7 audiences seen you before?
I am an audiobook narrator, a tabletop role-playing game designer, and a stay-at-home husband.
I was seen often on the G7 stage between 2008 and 2012, performing in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Matchmaker, Pride & Prejudice (not then as Mr. Darcy), Swallows & Amazons, and Peter Pan (in which I played Peter), along with a few others I may have forgotten. In 2018, I played Giles Ralston in The Mousetrap.
What was your first encounter with Jane Austen? Have you read her novels? Is this your first time working on a Jane Austen play?
I read Pride & Prejudice for the first time in preparation for auditioning for this exact play in 2009. It was a special publication found at The House of James that included commentary from a reader's group of suppressed 40 year-old women, which was at times hilarious and at others mildly shocking. I have not got around to reading her other works, though my wife for a time listened through her complete collection on audio to fall asleep, so I am at least somewhat acquainted with them.
My preparation in 2009, however, worked marvelously, and I was given not one but three roles. I am glad to see fine actors occupying the boots I left there behind, but it will be some time before I feel worthy of the dark clogs left behind by the actor who played Darcy in that production (if I ever do!).
Why do you think this story is so beloved?
With regards to my own affections towards it, particularly as a novel, the wit and humour. Criminally undervalued in popular opinion and underutilized in adaptations (luckily not this one), Ms. Austen's acerbic narration is full of surprising sass and a healthy dose of dry English drollery. I would venture confidently to say that her dynamic leads have been instrumental in the lasting legacy of the work: Mr. Darcy, still to this day, is a radical male lead for the simplest reasons: he listens to women and is willing to change. This may seem, and is, exquisitely uncomplicated, but undeniably rare.
Lizzy Bennett is a distinctly human lead, never limited to fulfilling a fantasy or pretending infallible superiority, and it is the depths of these characters' flaws and development that make this story really excellent. The favourable adaptations to the screen in the last twenty years have certainly helped its popularity, too.
How are rehearsals going? What's been your favourite moment so far?
Rehearsals have been a cacophony of energy and bodies, which bodes well for a spirited play. My favourite moments, though, have been rehearsing the more intimate scenes, where eye contact may be the loudest thing in the room.
Tell us a little bit about your Mr. Darcy. Who is he?
Mr. Darcy is an introverted nobleman whose ambition is far more tied up in his library than the social ladder, though, to his chagrin perhaps, by virtue of his wealth and connections he cannot help but be on its higher rungs. He is a sensitive, caring individual with a depth of character he doesn't care to show to any but those very few whom he feels deserves it. He cares little for beauty unless it is intelligent, and what is intelligent he finds beautiful. He spends most of his time brooding in corners by windows.
Are there any scenes or specific onstage moments that you really enjoy or are looking forward to?
I hear they will be serving real champagne during the ball scenes, so that's exciting. Additionally, while the choreography for the fatal sword fight between the dashing Wickham and two cutthroat highwaymen who waylay the Bennett girls on the road to Meryton has been so far kept under wraps, I am dearly looking forward to a battle which I hear will leave our musclebound hero shirtless and glistening under the stage-lights.
Oh, and one mustn't forget the scene where Bingley accidentally proposes to Darcy while all the Bennett girls look on secretly from the bushes. I jest, of course . . . but then again, perhaps not. There are simply too many moments to choose from.
What can audiences expect when the lights go down?
A unique adaptation of a familiar story, told with new life and perspective. Even if you have read and reread the novel, seen both the 1998 and the 2005 screen version—even if you were at the MEI auditorium nine years ago, this production will surprise and delight you.
Pride and Prejudice is coming November 9 to Abbotsford—get your tickets now!