By Brandi Wylie ’24, intern
Wofford College Theatre’s spring production of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” will give audiences a different look at the literary and theatrical classic.
The adaptation was written by Kate Hamill, and it has progressive and comedic elements.
“It’s something that still has a message, but is endued in silliness and joy,” says Matthew Giles ’07, the play’s director. “I think joy is one of the most underappreciated values in the theater.”
Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m., April 21-23 and 27-30 in the Jerome Johnson Richardson Theatre. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for Wofford employees and $12 for the general public. To purchase tickets, or for additional information, visit wofford.edu/boxoffice.
Twenty-five students are involved with the production. They’re from various majors, backgrounds and theatre experiences.
Joanna Burgess ’22, a physics and theatre double major from Clinton, South Carolina, is playing the lead role of Lizzy Bennet.
Hailie Gold ’23, a theatre and English double major from Greenville, South Carolina, is the stage manager for the production, and she believes this retelling of the classic tale also holds importance because it focuses more on Bennet’s mind rather than solely her love life.
Being the stage manager for any production comes with much responsibility and coordination, and Giles praises Gold’s professionalism in this role.
“The stage manager is there to make sure everything in the show is functional and consistently the same experience for every audience that attends,” Gold says.
This proves to be a challenging feat in this rendition of “Pride and Prejudice” because of the number of on-stage costume changes, the number of props moving around, the number of doubly cast roles and the general use of only one set.
Gold is impressed with how much the cast and crew have worked together to make this process as seamless as possible.
Giles seconds this idea, as he has witnessed the cast and crew spending time together “off the clock” and forming friendships. The people involved in the production have found happiness in their work, and they invite the Wofford community to come share that happiness with them.
“Come and laugh really loud,” Giles says. “Come out in droves and laugh your head off. It’s a funny piece; it’s a charming piece.”
This comedic piece is important because of the difficulties and frustrations that the past two years have held. Giles notes that the most recent Wofford productions have leaned into this darkness as inspiration, but this piece provides something lighter for people to come and enjoy.
They wanted something that would provide relief for both the Wofford theatre department in putting on the production and the Wofford community in viewing it.
This is Giles’ directorial debut at Wofford, and he had nothing but positive words about his experience thus far with the faculty and students in the department.
He recalls his time in the theatre department as a student and plays in the Tony White Theater. With over a decade passing, the technology has vastly improved, and Giles says he’s impressed with the infrastructure in the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts.
“It’s always odd when you come back to your alma mater,” Giles says. “Colleen (Ballance) was my professor. Mark Ferguson, who is still in the theatre department, was also my professor. I love those people. They’re more like colleagues and peers to me. It’s been great to be back and working with them.”