In this crisp, dynamic retelling of Jane Austen’s comic masterpiece, Emma, matchmaker Emma Woodhouse has taken on a new “project” – her friend Harriet. Jon Jory’s adaptation of the classic novel portrays both girls as they journey through romances and friendships, and eventually become increasingly aware of their own strengths.
According to Stacy Becker, the play’s director, Emma delivers vibrant performances filled with relevant themes for today’s audiences. Becker explained, “Emma is a great piece of classic literature, and it really isn't stuffy or old-fashioned in its themes, even though it might seem so in its mannerisms. It is very easy to relate to and is a very enjoyable show.”
“Emma's belief that she can influence and control the people around her is not unusual. The fact that she approaches things from a very altruistic point of view doesn't change the reality that she is trying to manipulate people. She gradually realizes that even though she had good intentions, she can hurt people. People can relate to Emma,” said Becker.
Adapting a novel to stage can pose challenges, but Becker welcomes the new perspectives a dramatic genre offers. “I like this adaptation of the play because it moves so quickly from scene to scene. It has an almost dream-like or reflective quality to it. It works very well to give the important themes and ideas of the novel while still moving fast enough to hold our attention,” said Becker.
“Jane Austen can be quite daunting to some readers. A live drama version can introduce new people to her and her works, and inspire them to pick up the book,” added Becker.
To prepare for her role as director, Becker read through the play to divide scenes into different motivational and goal-oriented subjects. She finds that every scene in a play has a theme or a goal the various characters want to achieve. “It's important to help the actors recognize those different themes. I also read the novel and various commentaries on the novel and the author,” said Becker.
The play brings Harriet and Emma, two young women seeking love, companionship and friendship, to modern audiences. Determined to find an impressive suitor in spite of Harriet’s lack of social standing, Emma becomes entangled in the romantic lives of her friends and acquaintances. Will she unwittingly find herself the victim of her own best intentions? Or will she ultimately journey from foolishness to maturity, learning the greater value of transformation of self over changing others? These timeless questions unfold dramatically in this production.
Acacia Theatre Company will perform the play July 15 through July 24 in Concordia University Wisconsin’s Todd Wehr Auditorium, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive in Mequon, Wis.
Performance Schedule and Ticket Information
Performances will be given at 8 p.m. on July 15, 8 p.m. on July 16, 3 p.m. on July 17, 8 p.m. on July 21, 8 p.m. on July 22, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on July 23 and 3 p.m. on July 24.
Tickets will be available by calling (414) 744-5995 or at www.acaciatheatre.com. Tickets will cost $16, or $13 for senior citizens, full-time students and full-time clergy. Group (10+) discounts are available.
About Acacia Theatre Company
Founded in 1980, Acacia Theatre Company is an independent, non-profit, interdenominational group of dramatic artists who share a common desire to integrate art and faith by presenting theatre from a Judeo-Christian worldview. Through uplifting, quality entertainment, Acacia provides occasion for thanksgiving, growth and enjoyment, and the opportunity for Christians and non-Christians to consider their lives in relation to God. More information is available at www.acaciatheatre.com.
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