Hardin Valley Academy’s Advanced Theater Department students are taking audiences back in time with Jane Austen’s literary classic, “Pride and Prejudice.”
About 50 HVA theater students will perform the play, based on Austen’s 1813 romantic novel, beginning at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, and 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 22, in the school’s auditorium, 11345 Hardin Valley Road.
Performancs are open to the public. Tickets, which will be sold at the door, are $7 for adults and $5 for students. Proceeds go to the theater department to fund this and future performances.
Of the students involved in the play, HVA theater teacher Robert Warren said about 35 make up the cast while the others are behind the scenes.
“This is my favorite of the Jane Austen novels, so I suggested ‘Pride and Prejudice,’” he said. “We looked at it, we reviewed it and we all liked it.”
Warren said there were enough familiar relationships among students to do romance scenes, family relations and things of that nature.
“Emotional delivery also is a hard thing to teach kids,” Warren said. “I had some really good kids who would be able to do that.”
As for other challenges, “This particular piece is historical,” he said. “You have to study the history of the time, and we did. … We also had to learn a proper British accent, which we spent doing during the summer.”
Leading roles went to HVA juniors Savanna Estes, who portrays Elizabeth Bennet, and Tristin Saidak, who portrays Mr. Darcy. They received the roles through an audition process.
“Last year, I was Twiddle Dum in ‘Alice in Wonderland,’” Estes said. “I joined theater [last year] because my dad said it was either theater or sports. I don’t run, so I joined theater and I fell in love with it.”
She initially became familiar with “Pride and Prejudice” when she read the novel for her sophomore summer reading assignment and fell in love with the novel “I’m a writer so I love the way Jane Austen writes and the way she describes everything,” Estes said. “I really wanted to portray her book in the way she would be proud of so I was glad to have the role.
“It was difficult … but I like a challenge,” she added.
While Estes does not plan on pursuing acting as a career, she would like to do theater on the side, such as in community theater and in college.
“My family is very theatrical,” she said and laughed. “My parents actually met in a college play.”
This year is Saidak’s first production. However, “I’ve been in the theater program, doing stuff, since my freshman year,” he said.
Saidak said he sees similarities of Mr. Darcy’s personality compared to his own, so the character is not as challenging as he thought — but he liked the character.
“I like that we’re so much alike,” he said. “People perceive us as arrogant or egotistic, but that’s not actually what either of us are like.
“The only real difficulty is learning the lines because I don’t really need to act that much for it,” Saidak said. “I’m getting used to it. I never had to learn so many cues like that before, but I’m getting better.”
The junior would like to pursue acting as a career.
“I’d like to go as far as I can go,” Saidak said. “I know acting is a long-shot dream job, but I’d like to [do that] … I’m planning on going to [New York University and in major in] acting.”
Hailey Summey, a senior, portrays Lydia Bennet, Elizabeth Bennet’s youngest, spirited sister.
“I actually wanted to play Lizzy Bennet,” she said. “I was a little upset at first to find out I got Lydia, but now that I’ve gone through the script and getting to know my character, it’s become a really fun part to play. [Lydia’s] definitely got a big personality so that’s good.”
The hardest part about learning the part of Lydia was learning the British accent, Summey said. “I’ve been doing theater for about three years, so with everything else, I’ve kind of been building on what I’ve learned, so it wasn’t too hard to analyze the character.”
Summey said she wants to pursue a criminal justice major in college, but also would like to include theater.