Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

There’s no subsitute for good writing in Cygnet Theatre’s version of Jane Austin’s Pride & Prejudice

“Vanity and pride are different things”

This week on The Bachelor...it's the beguiling Bennet sisters!
This week on The Bachelor...it's the beguiling Bennet sisters!

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen published Pride & Prejudice in 1813, and two centuries hence, its story of sisters seeking eligible husbands in the genteel English countryside has been retold ad nauseum. Many plays, movies, and television series have held the story in high regard, depicting it with period dress and the sort of reverential treatment of dialogue typically reserved for Shakespeare. More recently, less serious adaptations have attempted to update it to suit modern tastes, to the point of weaving zombies into the plot.

Its most recent stage adaptation, playing at the Cygnet Theatre through June 16, sits somewhere between these approaches, punctuated by cross-dressing actors and the occasionally glaring presence of a disco ball. Amid its broad-stroke comedy occasionally emerge the sharper lines of Austen’s wit, less aggressively funny than clever, almost to the point of wisdom. For example, “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously… Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”

The distinction resonates, particularly when delivered within a plot focused on young women and men pursuing life partners based on social standing and wealth. We are told which sister is the most beautiful, which the silliest, and which the most accomplished at playing music. The men are likewise classified, according height, income, occupation, and manner.

In all forms, the story is predicated on the promise of lasting romance, and an audience rooting for favorite characters to wind up together. Will Lizzy, the brightest sister, pair with the boorish clergyman, the handsome soldier, or the brusque gentleman? Will the beautiful Jane successfully beguile the object of her fancy, or settle for a man less obviously deserving? They face competition from the daughter of a local knight, from jealous highborn ladies, and from one another.

Considering this now tried-and-true plot construction, perhaps the most successful Pride and Prejudice adaptation of the 21st century has been the glut of reality game shows arising from The Bachelor franchise. In these shows, a single, telegenic bachelor is pursued by two dozen women, whom he individually discards until one chosen paramour remains (the gender roles are reversed on its sister show, The Bachelorette).

But however high its ratings, The Bachelor has been an unmitigated failure so far as romance is concerned: its matched partners invariably split within months of taping. It ultimately reinforces the value of having a talented writer such as Austen preside over such a story’s telling. Its contestants, however handsome or pretty, have one prevailing characteristic in common: they wish to be seen and admired by the general viewing public. Thus, by Austen’s definition they are guided by vanity. If the show could lure contestants imbued with pride, its attempt at matchmaking might succeed beyond a brief, televised moment, and it might finally prove a worthy successor to the retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Instead, it adds to the heap of adaptations in vain, and proves beyond doubt: there is simply no substitute for good writing.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Unexpected views from some San Diego African Americans

"I don't care if you're black or white"
Next Article

The unsinkable Linda Broyles

“I mean, when they said I couldn’t go home, I could see Coronado!”
This week on The Bachelor...it's the beguiling Bennet sisters!
This week on The Bachelor...it's the beguiling Bennet sisters!

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen published Pride & Prejudice in 1813, and two centuries hence, its story of sisters seeking eligible husbands in the genteel English countryside has been retold ad nauseum. Many plays, movies, and television series have held the story in high regard, depicting it with period dress and the sort of reverential treatment of dialogue typically reserved for Shakespeare. More recently, less serious adaptations have attempted to update it to suit modern tastes, to the point of weaving zombies into the plot.

Its most recent stage adaptation, playing at the Cygnet Theatre through June 16, sits somewhere between these approaches, punctuated by cross-dressing actors and the occasionally glaring presence of a disco ball. Amid its broad-stroke comedy occasionally emerge the sharper lines of Austen’s wit, less aggressively funny than clever, almost to the point of wisdom. For example, “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously… Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”

The distinction resonates, particularly when delivered within a plot focused on young women and men pursuing life partners based on social standing and wealth. We are told which sister is the most beautiful, which the silliest, and which the most accomplished at playing music. The men are likewise classified, according height, income, occupation, and manner.

In all forms, the story is predicated on the promise of lasting romance, and an audience rooting for favorite characters to wind up together. Will Lizzy, the brightest sister, pair with the boorish clergyman, the handsome soldier, or the brusque gentleman? Will the beautiful Jane successfully beguile the object of her fancy, or settle for a man less obviously deserving? They face competition from the daughter of a local knight, from jealous highborn ladies, and from one another.

Considering this now tried-and-true plot construction, perhaps the most successful Pride and Prejudice adaptation of the 21st century has been the glut of reality game shows arising from The Bachelor franchise. In these shows, a single, telegenic bachelor is pursued by two dozen women, whom he individually discards until one chosen paramour remains (the gender roles are reversed on its sister show, The Bachelorette).

But however high its ratings, The Bachelor has been an unmitigated failure so far as romance is concerned: its matched partners invariably split within months of taping. It ultimately reinforces the value of having a talented writer such as Austen preside over such a story’s telling. Its contestants, however handsome or pretty, have one prevailing characteristic in common: they wish to be seen and admired by the general viewing public. Thus, by Austen’s definition they are guided by vanity. If the show could lure contestants imbued with pride, its attempt at matchmaking might succeed beyond a brief, televised moment, and it might finally prove a worthy successor to the retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Instead, it adds to the heap of adaptations in vain, and proves beyond doubt: there is simply no substitute for good writing.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Kahlee310’s snitch rapper reactions

“He’d literally do anything for the money or fame”
Next Article

Albert Brooks’ mockinfomercial introduction

The glad-handing human laugh track, assures his audience, “That was funny.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close