As timeless as stories get, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice has enamoured romantics for more than 200 years. Since its creation, our protagonist and main character, Elizabeth Bennet, has become one of the modern literary heroes, and her relationship with the story's proud antagonist-turned-love-interest, Mr. Darcy, has captivated audiences for generations. The tale is frequently adapted and referenced throughout pop culture.
A classic love story that envelops the plot along with other themes of station, poise and propriety, Pride and Prejudice has appeared in many storytelling formats over the years. The tale has now inspired film versions of the same name, as well as other modern hit spin-off books like Bridget Jones' Diary and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (both of which later developed into screenplays). Its versatility as a work lends itself to the performability of its characters, who struggle with enduring issues: money, class and social decorum, and the shirking of it all in the pursuit of marriage and love.
Pride and Prejudice follows a young woman named Elizabeth Bennet, who comes from a highly regarded countryside family. The story opens with Elizabeth and her four sisters learning that a wealthy (and affable) bachelor named Mr. Bingley is moving into their neighbourhood. With him, temporarily, he has brought a friend -- a prideful, wealthier bachelor named Mr. Darcy. Throughout the narrative, as Bingley and Jane, Elizabeth's only older sister, fall deeper in love, Elizabeth gets to know Mr. Darcy, with whom a tumultuous, complicated relationship gradually transitions into one of respect, acceptance and, shortly thereafter, love.
After completing a successful (and sold out) run in 2013, Open Air Theatre's Pride and Prejudice will play in London once more, in Regent Park's Open Air Theatre. The cast includes performance veterans like Olivier Award winner Matthew Kelly, who has appeared in productions like Of Mice and Men and Waiting for Godot, and Felicity Montagu, who has appeared in Bridget Jones' Diary and had a role in Alan Partridge. The lead roles of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy will be played by Tafline Steen (King Charles III) and Benjamin Dilloway (King Lear), respectively.
Open Air Theatre's production of the play will take place at Regent Park's outdoor theatre, a venue within one of the Royal Parks of London. The space is known for its beauty and amenities, which include parks for children, sporting areas, a lake and Queen Mary's garden, wherein the famed open air theatre sits. The stage has hosted the highest calibre of actors, with guests including Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Judi Dench and Ralph Fiennes. Although most of the auditorium area is not sheltered -- those with Pride and Prejudice tickets should be aware London weather can be unpredictable -- the area does feature one of London's longest theatre bars below its few covered portions.
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