‘Pride and Prejudice’ takes Bratton Theater stage for first mainstage production of theater season

Chautauqua Theater Company Conservatory Actors Anna Roman, as Elizabeth Bennet, and Daniel Velez, as Fitzwilliam Darcy, perform in CTC’s production of Kate Hamill’s Pride and Prejudice. Jess Kszos/Staff Photographer

Julia Weber
Staff writer

Before the curtain rises for Chautauqua Theater Company’s production this weekend, sound designer Justin Schmitz emphasized the importance of collaboration as a key factor for its success.

“You have to lean on your collaborators as a team ultimately, and that’s really truly where it all blends together and becomes the final product,” he said.

Presenting a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, written by Kate Hamill, the company’s ability to come together has been “remarkable,” he said.

“It’s … encouraging me to go as big as I can,” Schmitz said. “… and I’m just grateful for it.”

CTC’s begins with previews at 4 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The show will open at 7:30 p.m. Sunday with performances through July 30. 

Hamill’s humorous take on the classic Jane Austen novel, directed by CTC Producing Artistic Director Jade King Carroll, approaches the play with a contemporary feminist lens.

Conservatory Actor Anna Roman, who plays Lizzy Bennet, said she hopes viewers will enjoy seeing a familiar story told in an unfamiliar way. She believes this adaptation of the classic novel will be more accessible to a modern audience and will make for a very emotional experience.

“There’s some really heartfelt moments too,” she said. “… Our goal is for laughter and crying and just an excuse to have a human experience all together in the theater.”

Katie Rose McLaughlin, choreographer for Pride and Prejudice, was particularly interested in working on this adaptation because of the way that it examines the gender roles and expectations of the time period.

McLaughlin said Carroll’s artistic vision and leadership were a compelling reason for her to join the Pride and Prejudice team, citing their shared artistic visions and similar values in theater.

The plot focuses on the Bennet family and, specifically, their daughters. Lizzy Bennet is staunchly opposed to marriage and love, defying the gendered expectations of the historical period. 

This, in turn, causes problems for the entire Bennet family. When Lizzy meets Mr. Darcy, though, she begins to question her deeply-held beliefs.

Set in a time in which marriage was an integral and life-determining event for women, the comedic play questions the institution of marriage, and the stifling gender roles women were expected to uphold.

Hamill’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was one of the 10 most-produced plays of the 2018-2019 season nationally, and Hamill herself is one of the most-produced playwrights in the country in the last five years.


The author Julia Weber

Julia Weber is a rising junior in Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College where she is majoring in journalism and minoring in art history. Originally from Athens, Ohio, this is her first summer in Chautauqua and she is thrilled to cover the theater and dance performances. She serves as the features editor for Ohio University’s All-Campus Radio Network, a student-run radio station and media hub, and she is a former intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. Outside of her professional life, Julia has a newly adopted cat, Griffin, and she is an avid fan of live music and a dedicated ceramicist.