Students prepare for "Pride and Prejudice" play
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Director Mitchell Thomas rounded up Westmont’s most talented actors and actresses to bring Jane Austen’s romantic novel “Pride and Prejudice” to life this October. This interpretation of “Pride and Prejudice”, adapted by Kate Hamill, allows the actors and actresses to explore below-the-surface aspects of their beloved characters, something not every theatre company encourages. Supporting actress Abbie Cash gives The Horizon an insider’s perspective on the show’s progress and ongoing rehearsals in a recent interview.
Cash will be playing the protagonist’s status-seeking mother, Mrs. Bennet, who hopes to marry her five daughters off to wealthy men so that they may keep their father’s inheritance. When asked what a typical rehearsal looks like, Cash responded, “Most of the time we’re blocking scenes, learning dances, or further developing our characters so they have more depth.”
During blocking rehearsals, the director (Mitchell Thomas) works with the actors to set the tone and mood of the scene by deciding where and how each line will be delivered. Thomas walks the actors through his vision of the scene, making tweaks along the way to make each movement look and feel as organic as possible.
Although this will be Cash’s first performance in a Westmont production, she can attest to the intense nature of tech week (not-so-fondly known as “hell week”) as a seasoned actress. Generally during tech rehearsals, the cast and crew moves from the “black box” (practice room) to the theatre, where each scene must be carefully re-spaced to fit the size of the stage. The next few nights, the tech crew puts together lighting concepts, checks sound and organizes microphone assignments, and adds any special effects. This is also usually the time when the cast sees the set for the first time, and it “can be tricky to find your bearings and navigate a new stage with so many moving pieces.”
Cash encourages anyone interested in theatre to get involved, as she has “never regretted participating in a show, whether I was a lead role, ensemble role, or a part of the tech crew.” During her interview, Cash raved about the first ballroom scene, saying how she “feel[s] like the audience gets a good introduction to each character and begins to understand their personalities and motives. It’s very comedic and just such a fun scene to be a part of.”
According to Cash, Thomas’s rendition of “Pride and Prejudice” stays true to the original storyline and characters, but brings fresh twists in a way that is sure to entertain the Westmont and Santa Barbara community. The show will open on October 19th and goes through October 28th at the Porter Theatre.