Meet Elizabeth Bennet
By Open Air Theatre
What did you know of Jane Austen before starting Pride and Prejudice?
I will be embarrassingly honest and say that I came to Jane Austen rather late – last year in fact! But what a joy it is to stumble onto a treasure trove of work that you’ve yet to exhaust. I think that’s rarer the older you get, so I feel rather lucky to have a lot of her work still to read.
Do you have similarities to Elizabeth Bennet? What is it like to play her?
I do like a good argument. But I can only aspire to her wit and good nature. A lot of people talk about her razor-sharp mind but she also has this huge heart. She is undoubtedly someone I’d meet at a party and follow around all night, hoping some of it’d rub off on me. (Which probably explains why a friend recently said I was definitely a Mary. She may or may not have been joking.)
What are you most looking forward to about performing Pride and Prejudice at the Open Air Theatre?
Open air theatre in general has always seemed magical to me. In fact, I remember a rather formative experience at the Minack in Cornwall when I was little, where the heavens opened and the sea beyond the amphitheatre was violently crashing into the cliffs, and it being such a wonderfully elemental thing. A real communion between people and nature and the ephemeral. Nature feels like another character in Pride and Prejudice so I’m really looking forward to that being so tangible in this production. Not that I’m actually wishing for rain every night…
When the production goes on tour, what five items are your tour essentials?
I’ve actually never been on tour so I’m hoping everyone else will be generous enough to tell me theirs! I did spend a bunch of time away last year doing a play in the U.S. and discovered the following things tended to solve most problems:
- Baby wipes
- Phone signal
- A good friend
- A good book
Why should people come to see Pride and Prejudice?
It’s such a witty, heartfelt rush of a story that it feels like it was meant to be done like this all along. And Austen’s eye for satire and observation, of class and societal interaction, make it more relevant than you might think.
Check for returns for the sell-out run at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
Book tickets for the UK Tour.
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