The famous Miss Bennets to come alive in Waterdown Village Theatre's production of 'Pride and Prejudice'

WhatsOn Oct 24, 2017 by Julia Lovett Flamborough Review

One of the Regency Era’s most beloved stories takes centre stage as Waterdown's Village Theatre presents Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice at Memorial Hall over the first three weekends in November.

The famous Miss Bennets are to be married off, but to whom? All this and more will be answered by the production adapted for the stage by Jane Kendall.

“Jane Austen’s contribution to literature is certainly dear to me,” said director Lana Borsellino.

This staging tells the classic story with a unique twist: every scene takes place in one location, the Bennet family home.

“There are definite indicators of passage of time because we do start, the play starts in early March, so we have indicators of cooler weather references, fireplace is going to be on and things like that,” explained Borsellino, noting that as the weather changes, so do the home furnishings or accessories.

“As far as taking care of the various settings in the original novel and condensing it into a single set, there are just a lot of visitors,” she added.

Helping Borsellino bring the play to life are producer Don Thorne, assistant producer Helen Vaillancourt and stage manager Nectaria Kordan. Bosellino said that when the play was first announced, auditions were a huge success as everyone who tried out for a role already knew the characters and brought that knowledge to their audition.

“I think a lot of them just brought the love of those characters, because I find that Jane Austen’s characters become like old friends to a lot of people,” she said.

Once the roles were cast, Borsellino gave the actors homework to help prepare them for the transition to the turn of the 19th century (the play takes place in 1800).

“I did a great deal of research on the Regency period and just basically Jane Austen’s world at the time because again, a lot of what she’s done in her writing is autobiographical as far as just reflecting her time,” she said.

“I did that groundwork — that research — and then I tried to isolate things that would be practical for actors to take away and use as tools on the stage,” added the director who is also a drama teacher.

To achieve the authenticity of the story, the actors needed to relearn society etiquette. This included learning how to stand and sit down in a chair, reframing their posture and bowing and curtsying when meeting someone.

“A woman seeing a man come into her house for the first time would curtsy, but if she’s seen him many, many times before, a nod will do,” she added.

Brandon Meyers, who plays Jane Bennet's affable suitor Mr. Bingley, said finding the realism within the role was the most important element.

“I think I’ve learned that Mr. Bingley is a lot deeper than just the charismatic character and that his love for Jane is what drives him, but he’s a super sensitive person and so am I,” he said.

To help the actors embody their characters, Borsellino had each actor give their character a certain stance. Meyers took a cue from his dance training.

“I’ve got Bingley standing like he’s in ballet first position (feet turned out),” he said of his development process.

Maxie Liberman plays the lead role of Elizabeth, the independent sister determined to marry for love. She said it is a role of a lifetime.

“She’s been my fictional inspiration since I read the book as a teenager and as an actress my dream role to play so it’s been incredible to walk in her corset,” she said.

The actresses who play the sisters bear a physical resemblance to each other and Carla Zabek, who plays Mrs. Bennet, their hysterical, husband-hunting mother, looks spot on to her daughters.

“I really wasn’t even going for that, it just happened … I mean what are the chances of that? It’s just at the outset, it’s that good,” said Borsellino.

Another serendipitous aspect is that each person that was cast in a role, has elements of their characters within themselves.

Aaron Wilkinson, who plays the reserved and proud Mr. Darcy, said when he auditioned he was hoping to be cast as the haughty, yet lovable literary hero.

“Some of my friends had previously commented that I have some mannerisms that are similar to Mr. Darcy, and this was back when I didn’t really know the character,” he said. “I’m a very shy person and Darcy is a very proud person and those two things can make someone very reserved and can put someone sort of in the periphery of a social circle."

Liberman noted that Austen’s stories have remained beloved for over 200 years because there is a universal truth in them that everyone — in the 19th century or the 21st — can relate to and ultimately, that is the reason the play works.

“That’s what makes Jane Austen and this play — this story — so exceptional is the main character Elizabeth is the headstrong, outspoken one and in those days, Jane would’ve been seen as the ideal woman,” she said. “The fact that she wasn’t the one that sort of the focus was on, sort of shows a bit of a slant in Jane Austen’s own storytelling.

“Maybe outspoken women are not so bad.”

While the cast prepares for opening night, Wilkinson took a moment to reflect on all the 19th-century conventions they have had to learn to truly embody their roles.

“I think that there may be a forgotten virtue in bowing toward people when you greet them and acknowledging that when you have a conversation with someone — that when you greet someone — that it’s significant and that … this is a person to whom you owe respect and that you take a second to acknowledge that,” he said.

“That caught me by surprise about the era and I would not be disappointed if we brought that back.”

Rounding out the Pride and Prejudice cast will be Peter Churey (Mr. Bennet),  Kaitlyn Bell (Lydia), Jessica Swain (Jane), Amber Cartledge (Mary), Kelly Falco (Catherine), Leanne Rogers, Sandy Milne, Matthew Lazerus-Brunner, Tina Koric, Kimberly Jonassen, Jennifer Barclay and Mathew Bandura.

The play will run Nov. 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18, with evening performances beginning at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and are available by calling 905-690-7889, Pickwick Books located at 325 Dundas St. E. and Village Fish & Chips, 9 Main St.

The famous Miss Bennets to come alive in Waterdown Village Theatre's production of 'Pride and Prejudice'

WhatsOn Oct 24, 2017 by Julia Lovett Flamborough Review

One of the Regency Era’s most beloved stories takes centre stage as Waterdown's Village Theatre presents Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice at Memorial Hall over the first three weekends in November.

The famous Miss Bennets are to be married off, but to whom? All this and more will be answered by the production adapted for the stage by Jane Kendall.

“Jane Austen’s contribution to literature is certainly dear to me,” said director Lana Borsellino.

This staging tells the classic story with a unique twist: every scene takes place in one location, the Bennet family home.

“There are definite indicators of passage of time because we do start, the play starts in early March, so we have indicators of cooler weather references, fireplace is going to be on and things like that,” explained Borsellino, noting that as the weather changes, so do the home furnishings or accessories.

“As far as taking care of the various settings in the original novel and condensing it into a single set, there are just a lot of visitors,” she added.

Helping Borsellino bring the play to life are producer Don Thorne, assistant producer Helen Vaillancourt and stage manager Nectaria Kordan. Bosellino said that when the play was first announced, auditions were a huge success as everyone who tried out for a role already knew the characters and brought that knowledge to their audition.

“I think a lot of them just brought the love of those characters, because I find that Jane Austen’s characters become like old friends to a lot of people,” she said.

Once the roles were cast, Borsellino gave the actors homework to help prepare them for the transition to the turn of the 19th century (the play takes place in 1800).

“I did a great deal of research on the Regency period and just basically Jane Austen’s world at the time because again, a lot of what she’s done in her writing is autobiographical as far as just reflecting her time,” she said.

“I did that groundwork — that research — and then I tried to isolate things that would be practical for actors to take away and use as tools on the stage,” added the director who is also a drama teacher.

To achieve the authenticity of the story, the actors needed to relearn society etiquette. This included learning how to stand and sit down in a chair, reframing their posture and bowing and curtsying when meeting someone.

“A woman seeing a man come into her house for the first time would curtsy, but if she’s seen him many, many times before, a nod will do,” she added.

Brandon Meyers, who plays Jane Bennet's affable suitor Mr. Bingley, said finding the realism within the role was the most important element.

“I think I’ve learned that Mr. Bingley is a lot deeper than just the charismatic character and that his love for Jane is what drives him, but he’s a super sensitive person and so am I,” he said.

To help the actors embody their characters, Borsellino had each actor give their character a certain stance. Meyers took a cue from his dance training.

“I’ve got Bingley standing like he’s in ballet first position (feet turned out),” he said of his development process.

Maxie Liberman plays the lead role of Elizabeth, the independent sister determined to marry for love. She said it is a role of a lifetime.

“She’s been my fictional inspiration since I read the book as a teenager and as an actress my dream role to play so it’s been incredible to walk in her corset,” she said.

The actresses who play the sisters bear a physical resemblance to each other and Carla Zabek, who plays Mrs. Bennet, their hysterical, husband-hunting mother, looks spot on to her daughters.

“I really wasn’t even going for that, it just happened … I mean what are the chances of that? It’s just at the outset, it’s that good,” said Borsellino.

Another serendipitous aspect is that each person that was cast in a role, has elements of their characters within themselves.

Aaron Wilkinson, who plays the reserved and proud Mr. Darcy, said when he auditioned he was hoping to be cast as the haughty, yet lovable literary hero.

“Some of my friends had previously commented that I have some mannerisms that are similar to Mr. Darcy, and this was back when I didn’t really know the character,” he said. “I’m a very shy person and Darcy is a very proud person and those two things can make someone very reserved and can put someone sort of in the periphery of a social circle."

Liberman noted that Austen’s stories have remained beloved for over 200 years because there is a universal truth in them that everyone — in the 19th century or the 21st — can relate to and ultimately, that is the reason the play works.

“That’s what makes Jane Austen and this play — this story — so exceptional is the main character Elizabeth is the headstrong, outspoken one and in those days, Jane would’ve been seen as the ideal woman,” she said. “The fact that she wasn’t the one that sort of the focus was on, sort of shows a bit of a slant in Jane Austen’s own storytelling.

“Maybe outspoken women are not so bad.”

While the cast prepares for opening night, Wilkinson took a moment to reflect on all the 19th-century conventions they have had to learn to truly embody their roles.

“I think that there may be a forgotten virtue in bowing toward people when you greet them and acknowledging that when you have a conversation with someone — that when you greet someone — that it’s significant and that … this is a person to whom you owe respect and that you take a second to acknowledge that,” he said.

“That caught me by surprise about the era and I would not be disappointed if we brought that back.”

Rounding out the Pride and Prejudice cast will be Peter Churey (Mr. Bennet),  Kaitlyn Bell (Lydia), Jessica Swain (Jane), Amber Cartledge (Mary), Kelly Falco (Catherine), Leanne Rogers, Sandy Milne, Matthew Lazerus-Brunner, Tina Koric, Kimberly Jonassen, Jennifer Barclay and Mathew Bandura.

The play will run Nov. 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18, with evening performances beginning at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and are available by calling 905-690-7889, Pickwick Books located at 325 Dundas St. E. and Village Fish & Chips, 9 Main St.

The famous Miss Bennets to come alive in Waterdown Village Theatre's production of 'Pride and Prejudice'

WhatsOn Oct 24, 2017 by Julia Lovett Flamborough Review

One of the Regency Era’s most beloved stories takes centre stage as Waterdown's Village Theatre presents Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice at Memorial Hall over the first three weekends in November.

The famous Miss Bennets are to be married off, but to whom? All this and more will be answered by the production adapted for the stage by Jane Kendall.

“Jane Austen’s contribution to literature is certainly dear to me,” said director Lana Borsellino.

This staging tells the classic story with a unique twist: every scene takes place in one location, the Bennet family home.

“There are definite indicators of passage of time because we do start, the play starts in early March, so we have indicators of cooler weather references, fireplace is going to be on and things like that,” explained Borsellino, noting that as the weather changes, so do the home furnishings or accessories.

“As far as taking care of the various settings in the original novel and condensing it into a single set, there are just a lot of visitors,” she added.

Helping Borsellino bring the play to life are producer Don Thorne, assistant producer Helen Vaillancourt and stage manager Nectaria Kordan. Bosellino said that when the play was first announced, auditions were a huge success as everyone who tried out for a role already knew the characters and brought that knowledge to their audition.

“I think a lot of them just brought the love of those characters, because I find that Jane Austen’s characters become like old friends to a lot of people,” she said.

Once the roles were cast, Borsellino gave the actors homework to help prepare them for the transition to the turn of the 19th century (the play takes place in 1800).

“I did a great deal of research on the Regency period and just basically Jane Austen’s world at the time because again, a lot of what she’s done in her writing is autobiographical as far as just reflecting her time,” she said.

“I did that groundwork — that research — and then I tried to isolate things that would be practical for actors to take away and use as tools on the stage,” added the director who is also a drama teacher.

To achieve the authenticity of the story, the actors needed to relearn society etiquette. This included learning how to stand and sit down in a chair, reframing their posture and bowing and curtsying when meeting someone.

“A woman seeing a man come into her house for the first time would curtsy, but if she’s seen him many, many times before, a nod will do,” she added.

Brandon Meyers, who plays Jane Bennet's affable suitor Mr. Bingley, said finding the realism within the role was the most important element.

“I think I’ve learned that Mr. Bingley is a lot deeper than just the charismatic character and that his love for Jane is what drives him, but he’s a super sensitive person and so am I,” he said.

To help the actors embody their characters, Borsellino had each actor give their character a certain stance. Meyers took a cue from his dance training.

“I’ve got Bingley standing like he’s in ballet first position (feet turned out),” he said of his development process.

Maxie Liberman plays the lead role of Elizabeth, the independent sister determined to marry for love. She said it is a role of a lifetime.

“She’s been my fictional inspiration since I read the book as a teenager and as an actress my dream role to play so it’s been incredible to walk in her corset,” she said.

The actresses who play the sisters bear a physical resemblance to each other and Carla Zabek, who plays Mrs. Bennet, their hysterical, husband-hunting mother, looks spot on to her daughters.

“I really wasn’t even going for that, it just happened … I mean what are the chances of that? It’s just at the outset, it’s that good,” said Borsellino.

Another serendipitous aspect is that each person that was cast in a role, has elements of their characters within themselves.

Aaron Wilkinson, who plays the reserved and proud Mr. Darcy, said when he auditioned he was hoping to be cast as the haughty, yet lovable literary hero.

“Some of my friends had previously commented that I have some mannerisms that are similar to Mr. Darcy, and this was back when I didn’t really know the character,” he said. “I’m a very shy person and Darcy is a very proud person and those two things can make someone very reserved and can put someone sort of in the periphery of a social circle."

Liberman noted that Austen’s stories have remained beloved for over 200 years because there is a universal truth in them that everyone — in the 19th century or the 21st — can relate to and ultimately, that is the reason the play works.

“That’s what makes Jane Austen and this play — this story — so exceptional is the main character Elizabeth is the headstrong, outspoken one and in those days, Jane would’ve been seen as the ideal woman,” she said. “The fact that she wasn’t the one that sort of the focus was on, sort of shows a bit of a slant in Jane Austen’s own storytelling.

“Maybe outspoken women are not so bad.”

While the cast prepares for opening night, Wilkinson took a moment to reflect on all the 19th-century conventions they have had to learn to truly embody their roles.

“I think that there may be a forgotten virtue in bowing toward people when you greet them and acknowledging that when you have a conversation with someone — that when you greet someone — that it’s significant and that … this is a person to whom you owe respect and that you take a second to acknowledge that,” he said.

“That caught me by surprise about the era and I would not be disappointed if we brought that back.”

Rounding out the Pride and Prejudice cast will be Peter Churey (Mr. Bennet),  Kaitlyn Bell (Lydia), Jessica Swain (Jane), Amber Cartledge (Mary), Kelly Falco (Catherine), Leanne Rogers, Sandy Milne, Matthew Lazerus-Brunner, Tina Koric, Kimberly Jonassen, Jennifer Barclay and Mathew Bandura.

The play will run Nov. 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18, with evening performances beginning at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and are available by calling 905-690-7889, Pickwick Books located at 325 Dundas St. E. and Village Fish & Chips, 9 Main St.