Richard Darbourne Ltd brings The Two Bit Classics production of Pride and Prejudice – Adapted by Joannah Tincey – to Margate on 19 October.
In this imaginative and loving adaptation by Joannah Tincey, two actors bring Austen’s words to life with great skill and agility – playing 21 characters!!!
Creating the show – by adaptor and actor and founder of Two Bit Classics, Joannah Tincey
“One of the main reasons I wanted to create a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, to be played by two actors, was my fascination with Austen’s characters. Selfishly, as an actor, I wanted a chance to inhabit them all: Lizzy, Mrs Bennet, Lydia, Charlotte Lucas…to say nothing of Mr Bingley.
“However, it wasn’t just about wanting more stage time. The more I thought it through, the more there seemed something special about two people taking the audience on the journey of the story – and I certainly hope that’s something you find when watching it. At its heart Pride and Prejudice is a love story, so there was a pleasing symmetry in having the actors playing Darcy and Elizabeth and, at the same time, all of the other characters that surround their coming together. There are so many other double-acts in the novel too; Mr and Mrs Bennet, Jane and Bingley, Lizzy and Jane, Kitty and Lydia, Lydia and Wickham, Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas. In each duo something about one character sheds light on another and vice versa so you get this exciting layering of perspectives.
“This is also why I’ve kept a mixture of dialogue and third person narrative in the adaptation. Austen’s narration reads as a wonderful blend of perspectives. She very rarely writes in ‘wide-shot’ but is switching ‘close-ups’ all the time. As the events of the novel unfold, they are filtered through each character’s sense of the truth. Increasingly it is Lizzy’s ‘truth’ that we encounter but this is often contrasted with other characters’ viewpoints. It seemed natural to put these perspectives into the mouths of the characters and this act of ‘narrating themselves’ means that each character grows a personal relationship with the audience during the course of the play.
“Another benefit of telling the story this way, is that I have not had to invent dialogue – the words are all Austen’s, my job was to select and arrange her text for performance. The aim was to create a theatrical experience of the novel itself and to celebrate the enduring force of the story 200 years after it was first written. For my money, it’s the truth of what Austen writes which fuels our constant fascination with Darcy and Lizzy. Through each other, they come to see themselves properly for the first time. ‘Till this moment, I never knew myself’ says Lizzy on reading Darcy’s letter.
Hopefully, by the end of the play, once the whirligig of the story and all the character switching comes to an end, we are left with two people joined together in a moment of truth.”