Maxwell Snyder is our Marketing Intern for the 2018-19 Season. As a part of his first month with us, he sat in on the first rehearsal of Pride and Prejudice.
Tuesday, September 4 marked my first ever rehearsal at Trinity Repertory Company. As a brand new member of the Trinity family, I immediately felt welcome in my new home with many warm introductions from many new faces, all excited to get this production on its feet. With a room full of actors, designers, staff, donors, and longtime subscribers, the room was full of smiles and laughter as everyone was introducing themselves.
Once everyone in the room was welcomed, director Birgitta Victorson, a Brown/Trinity Rep MFA alumna, shared a few words about her version for Pride and Prejudice. After finally returning to Trinity Rep after nearly 10 years apart (Paris by Night and the 2009 production of A Christmas Carol), we are thrilled to have her back. Birgitta shared an anecdote about her experience re-reading the novel on the train and being enraptured in the “will they won’t they” of the classic romance, Birgitta marveled at this story’s ability to pull you in time and time again, keeping you on the edge of your seat.
After Birgitta’s verbal introduction into the world of Pride and Prejudice, costume designer Olivera Gajic (Into the Breeches!, Faithful Cheaters, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) visually transported us into the story. Her renderings lined the wall; a gorgeous sketch of every single costume, complete with the actors’ faces. Olivera has every actor starting as a cast of neutral actors in all white period clothing – a base costume that will be added to with every character they play. Olivera leaned into the androgyny of the time period with her designs – men and women all wearing corsets, with complete disregard for the gender of the characters. As Olivera said, “This show isn’t about gender, it’s about the comedy of the characters.”
Next, we were able to examine the gorgeous set design of Michael McGarty (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage, To Kill a Mockingbird). Large scaffolding and doorways with gorgeous candelabras filled his model – all easily movable parts to create a versatile playing space to match any of the destinations throughout the production.
Once the designs were gazed upon and explained within the context of the production, the actors geared up for their turn to dazzle the room with their contribution. Once the first act started, the room was enthralled with this hysterical reenactment. Resident company actor Rebecca Gibel lead the company as heroine Lizzy Bennet, verbally combating with Rachael Warren’s dryly sarcastic yet charming Mr. Darcy. Joe Wilson Jr. dazzled the room as Miss Bingley, causing uproarious laughter in the room with every line. With resident company members working closely with their understudies, all of whom are Brown/Trinity Rep MFA students, the room was energetic, lively, and eager to learn and grow with the coming weeks before opening.
With all of this excitement from the first read, I cannot wait to see my first ever production at Trinity Rep. If this is where the production is on day one, I know it will absolutely blow my mind by opening night. Seeing the actors’ performances blossom and these designs come to fruition, this is surely going to be an enthralling piece of theater.
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