It’s uncommon to walk into a high school and find students dressed in attire from the 1800s, but that was the scene on Sunday afternoon as the theatre production class prepared for the opening night of Pride and Prejudice.
“Everything has been a class research project and working on that,” said teacher Heather Shippit. “They’ve also been in charge of the marketing and budget.”
In addition to marketing and budget, the students have designed posters, programs, costumes and are both on stage and in the wings.
“We started learning about technical theatre in September with the understanding of researching that era and costumes then,” said Shippit. “But we didn’t do the auditions until November so we haven’t been rehearsing that long.”
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is common reading for university English students, but it was the passion of Jaya Ducharme who is playing Elizabeth that inspired the script selection.
“She is an incredible Jane Austen fanatic. She’s also our dramaturg on the site so she’s done all the research, what bows to do, how to cross their legs, how their hands to touch,” said Shippit.
Ducharme said Pride and Prejudice has been her favourite story for several years.
“I love Jane Austen and the 1800s is my favourite time period,” she said. “I love history. I’m really interested in costume design and fashion. I made a few costume pieces of my own design for that time period.”
In addition to the costume, Ducharme said she enjoys the comedy and wit of the story.
“Every time I watch the BBC version I laugh at something that I didn’t realize was really funny. It’s clever, subtle British humour,” she said.
Even though Ducharme is enjoying the experience of being part of the production she said she likely won’t pursue theatre outside of high school.
“I’ll probably go into history,” she said.
The Mount Sentinel production of Pride and Prejudice will be at the Capitol Theatre on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 6:30 p.m.