Long ago and far away, in the little town of Anatevka, Russia, Tevye the milkman and his wife Golde, from “Fiddler on the Roof” fame, struggled with the happy problem of having too many daughters to find husbands for, and, it wouldn’t hurt if the husbands brought some cows and chickens as a dowry. A romantic novel by Jane Austen, many decades later, deals with another husband and wife, the Bennets, who also are blessed with a quartet of daughters of marriageable age. For the Bennets, love is not an issue as much as the size of the prospective suitors’ pocketbooks.
Set in England in 1813, Long Wharf Theatre has swept the world back in time to a new adaptation by Kate Hamill of Jane Austen’s work of “Pride and Prejudice” capturing the stage until Sunday, December 22. It is incumbent upon the eldest daughters Jane (Octavia Chavez- Richmond) and Lizzy (Aneisa J. Hicks) to save the family estate Longbourn by marrying well, to suitable men of great wealth, like the mysterious strangers Mr. Bingley (Luis Moreno) and Mr. Darcy (Biko Eisen-Martin), otherwise their home will be lost for lack of a sufficient inheritance.
Mrs. Bennet (Maria Elena Ramirez) is determined to secure the financial future of the family, especially since her husband (Rami Margron) seems more concerned with his newspaper than with the fate of their home should he die. The other daughters Mary (Luis Moreno) and Lydia (Dawn Elizabeth Clements) do not seem too involved in the marriage game, but the youngest one Lydia soon gets caught up in the playing and acts rashly.
While Bingley and Jane seem to be attracted to each other, Darcy and Lizzy spark anger with the other and he admits after one dance that Lizzy is too plain to attract him. Other gentlemen in the running for the prize are Wickham and Mr. Collins (both portrayed by Brian Lee Huynh). The characters frequently cross roles from male to female with facility, aided by the clever costuming by Izumi Inaba, on a sparkling stage designed by Gerardo Diaz Sanchez.
As romances flare and flame, with disappointments and proposals flying through the rose petalled air, one wonders if anyone will find their true love match by play’s curtain. Interference and problems are created by Anne De Bourgh (Octavia Chavez-Richmond), Lady Catherine (Dawn Elizabeth Clements), Miss Bingley (Brian Lee Huynh) and Charlotte (Rami Margron) who are all clearly jealous and want to stop the courtships, usually to their own favor. Jess McLeod directs with comic action with fine white kid gloves.
For tickets ($32 and up), call the Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Come watch Lizzy and her sisters as they engage themselves in the game of wedlock with humorous and romantic results.