Pride and Prejudice opens in Milwaukee


There is joy in Wisconsin as Janeites there prepare to enjoy the Milwaukee Rep’s production of Pride and Prejudice. previews the play.

“And there is joy, true happiness in fulfillment, in this story’s conclusion. I have to say, and I don’t think this is from an unrepentant romantic, that I never tire of such a story as Pride and Prejudice, a story of the trials, missteps and misunderstandings on a path to love. It is a triumph over circumstances that would scuttle joy, a fulfillment of the happy end most of us hold close as ‘always possible.'”

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel takes a larger perspective, placing it in context with the many adaptations (and the recent oddball things) and discusses the journey from page to stage.

To begin the job, Hanreddy sat down with Sullivan, who came from New York to direct the play, and a company of actors to read the book aloud. The read-through took 15 hours, more than six times the length of the play they were after, which gave them a rough idea of what they needed to accomplish.

Then Sullivan and Hanreddy split the book into sections, with each taking on about half the novel’s major scenes for the first draft, then swapping the sections for the first of several rewrites.

Their mission was to stay true to Austen’s tone, which Sullivan describes as “light, wry, bright and smart, with all the elements of character and wit we wish we possessed ourselves – and there’s no excess in it.”

To keep the speedy plotting of the original, which takes place in dozens of short episodes over the course of about a year, they settled on 35 scenes, “including every major subplot,” according to Sullivan. Because the Rep is blessed with a large company that includes several interns, only a few of Austen’s most minor characters had to be eliminated.

The play runs through March 29. Tickets are $10-60 and are available online.