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Acacia Theatre Presents "Jane Austen's Persuasion" at Concordia University

July 8, 2014

This sparkling new adaptation of Jane Austen's last novel, “Persuasion,” is a classic story of enduring love. The play is adapted from Austen's novel by Jennifer Le Blanc and directed by Tim Rebers. Performances are July 11-July 20, 2014.

“‘Persuasion’ has always held a special place in my heart. I’ve always loved Jane Austen’s novels, and I’ve had a marvelous time acting in stage adaptations of her work. I adore Austen’s wit. And I enjoy the weaving of romance with humor and social commentary,” said Le Blanc, who has acted in “Pride and Prejudice” at the Denver Center Theatre Company and “Sense and Sensibility” at TheatreWorks.

Director Tim Rebers commented on the quick, almost cinematic pace which the playwright has taken in adapting this novel. He says, “It makes it an interesting challenge to put on stage because there are about 25 characters and more than a dozen locations. Also, there is a lot of wit and clever writing, not just in the dialogue but in the way characters are written, and how they react to one another.”

Like many Austen novels, the plot mixes romance and humor. When the financially endangered Elliott family is reduced to renting part of their estate, daughter Anne is astonished to learn the new tenant is the sister of Frederick Wentworth, whose proposal she was persuaded to reject by a mentor. Then he was a sailor of poor social standing; now he is a rich and eligible officer.

According to Rebers, the production rewards both audience and cast. “Good theatre can lead the audiences' imagination to believe in what they are seeing - our production is built on that concept, and the faith that the audience's imagination is up to the task. That bet usually pays off handsomely (for both the audience and the cast) in my experience.”

Le Blanc admits she benefits from her experience as an actress and writer. She said, “I love both acting and writing. I feel tremendously grateful to get to do both,” “Persuasion” is Le Blanc’s first adaptation. At the moment, she working on an adaptation of Daniel DeFoe’s “Moll Flanders.” She is currently playing Beatrice in “Much Ado About Nothing” with the Livermore Shakespeare Festival. This fall she will be playing Desdemona in “Othello” with the Arabian Shakespeare Festival in San Francisco.

“This adaptation was originally written for a reading for a humanities organization in Portland, Oregon called Cerimon House. I was very fortunate that Ken Kelleher later directed it at San Jose Stage Company for its world-premiere production. And I’m thrilled that the Acacia Theatre Company is producing it,” Le Blanc notes.

Rebers is eager to bring the story to the modern stage. “While there are many differences between the world of England in 1814 and our world today, ‘Persuasion’ still holds something special for modern audiences. The themes and characters in this show are universal and have something to say about the best and worst of human nature. That doesn't change.”

All performances will be given in Concordia University Wisconsin’s Todd Wehr Auditorium, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive in Mequon, Wis.

Performance Schedule and Ticket Information
Performances: Fri., July 11, 8pm; Sat., July 12, 8pm; Sun., July 13, 3pm; Thurs., July 17, 8pm; Fri., July 18, 8pm; Sat., July 19, 4pm and 8pm; and Sun.. July 20, 3pm.

Ticket Information
Single tickets will cost $16, or $13 for senior citizens, full-time students and full-time clergy. More information is available by calling (414) 744-5995 or visiting www.acaciatheatre.com.

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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Photo: Michael Jeske plays Captain Wentworth and Susie Duecker plays Anne Elliott in Acacia Theatre’s “Jane Austen’s Persuasion.”

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