Thursday, October 11, 2018

Day 301 PPT's Pride and Prejudice - Unconventional Version- a "Dramatic Parody" at the O'Rielly Theater

Sisters from right to left, Lydia, Lizzy and Jane*

"Pride and Prejudice" is a classic Jane Austen romantic novel that most of us  read  at some point in our school history. Although written in 1800’s it still remains a popular English novel and  has  been adapted into numerous plays, movies and even a TV series. Pittsburgh Public Theater’s production of Pride and Prejudice by Kate Hamill  is quite unconventional. This version managed to keep a recognizable thread of the iconic story but injected exaggerated humor akin to a Monty Python parody of this classic. If you are expecting the traditional story then you might be disappointed with this “dramatic parody” but if you can keep an open mind, you will get the best of both worlds- superb acting and fast paced zany humor.  

Opening dance *

The play opens  with symbolism as the eight person cast dressed in white seem joyous  as they dance and play.  Maybe they are interacting without societal labels,  preconceived opinions of each other and pride or prejudices (or maybe I am over thinking it and the opening was just meant to be fun). It was different nonetheless.

 The play is also performed with the audience seated on all four sides. The actors weave though the audience at various times during the play since  part of the set is located among the audience. The rainbow of colors hanging from the theater chandeliers gave a clue that a whimsical show was going to follow.

The original  Jane Austen story  even without any adaptation had many treads of humor. Four Bennet sisters seek a husband in order to keep the family from being poverty stricken when Mr. Bennet passes.  In the 1800’s girls could not inherit property. The importance of marrying a  wealthy man in this English society  superseded happiness especially for Mrs. Bennet (Elena Alexandratos) who is obsessed with finding a wealthy bachelor for her girls.

The girls each have distinctive personalities and these personalities are exaggerated in this version. Jane (Ashley Bufkin) is the eldest and most beautiful with an optimistic view of the world. Lizzy (Simone Recasner) is an intelligent independent women who is not interested in marriage.  Mary (played by a man, Andrew William Smith)  is  more interested in books and lectures then men and the youngest, Lydia (Emma Mercier) is a 14 year old free spirited girl.   

The play begins at a ball where Jane meets and falls for playboy and wealthy Mr. Bingley (Andrew William Smith’s duel role).  His friend Mr. Darcy (Ryan Garbayo) is one of the richest  men in England and he  thwarts Bingley’s connection with Jane because she is not his societal equal.  Jane’s heart is broken but things turn around for her in the end.

Lizzy (Simone Recasner) and Mr Darcy (Ryan Garbayo) *
Over the course of the play even though they both try to resist,  Mr. Darcy develops an interest in Lizzy .  Their  interaction was the “drama part of the play” and it was superbly acted by Garboyo and Recasner and by far my favorite part of the action.  Eventually Lizzy over comes her prejudices about Darcy and he overcomes his pride which leads to their  happily ever after. There is more drama in-between before the play ends with an eighties dance party. 

At first, maybe because  I am a fan of the original story or because I did not expect the injection of the zany comedy, I did not enjoy the changes to my beloved story. If fact, it seemed at times a little over the top in an attempt to be different.  Although skillfully done, there were  women playing men, men playing women and  actors playing multiple characters that caused humorous fast wardrobe changes. When both characters had to be on the stage simultaneously, as a gag, the clothes of one of the characters  glided across the stage on a maniken. There was continued audience laughter as Mary, pathetic and  unattractive, was  played by the same actor as Mr. Bingley (a 6 foot 4 inch tall Andrew William Smith).

From the waves of laughter, many  in the audience loved the  levity of the play. My friend and I agreed that  our brains adapted to its madcap nature after the intermission and we began to laugh along with the others.

A kin to a parody (see Day 286-William Shakespeare's Long Lost Play ) Pride and Prejudice  by Kate Hamill gives you some dramatic moments and a lot wacky humor. This is an enjoyable -“Dramatic Parody” if you can be open enough to accept  this  type of adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel and have fun with it!

* Photos by Michael Henninger

(Pride and Prejudice runs from September 27 through October 28, 2018 at the O'Rielly Theater . For tickets go to

Spiritual Source
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble" James 4;6
 Other Sources

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Day 300- International Festival of First- Cirque Eloize:Hotel -All Just Passing Through

Cirque Eloize:Hotel  made its world premier in Pittsburgh and kicked off the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. Since 1993, the Canadian company, Cirque Eloizehas preformed  a modern circus  that merges  live music, acrobatics and dance. I have never been a big fan of traditional circuses but   Cirque Eloise: Hotel is a contemporary circus and a theatrical creation using these art forms to tell a story of lives passing through this grand 1920’s  hotel. (see preview here)

Friday, September 21, 2018

Day 299 The Play that Goes Wrong- Broadway in Pittsburgh - Classic Physical Comedy- Combustion of Set and of Laughter

The Play That Goes Wrong  is a Tony Award winning Broadway comedy about  the Cornley University Drama Society’s attempt to put on a 1920’s murder mystery production when obviously- everything that could go wrong, does go wrong.   As a lover of the theater and a former high school and college actor/thespian, I know firsthand the trials encountered during show production. In The Play that Goes Wrong, everything on  the set seems to combust and so does the audience with laughter in this classic physical comedy.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Day 298 Men are From Mars Women are From Venus Live!- Girls Night or Date Night -A Night full of Laughs

 In the 90’s I laughed my way through  John Gray’s New York Times # 1 Best selling book, Men are from Mars- Women Are from Venus. This book brilliantly characterized the male vs female perspective on dating, marriage, and intimacy. It was a hysterical read because it all seemed  “so true”. This one man part theatrical and part stand-up Off- Broadway show is based on the book. It is the perfect  lighthearted date night or girls night out.  It’s even a night full of laughs for the guy who is dragged to the show!
Searching to understand 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

September Preview of Events

Men are from Mars Women are from Venus Live!-  September 6th- October 14, 2018- CLO Cabaret-Greer Cabaret Theater

In the 90’s I laughed my way through the New York Times # 1 Best selling book, Men are from Mars- Women Are from Venus. This book  brilliantly characterized the male vs female perspective on dating, marriage, and intimacy . It was a hysterical read because it all seemed  “so true” I can’t wait to see this  Off- Broadway one man theatrical/stand-up show based on the book.

Join me with the girls or with your man from September 6-October 14, 2018, for what should be a hysterical evening at the Greer Cabaret Theater. For tickets go

Blog Post to here

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Day 297-Aladdin-PNC Broadway Pittsburgh-A Fun Colorful Magic Carpet Ride

One of my blog inspiration books, Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a (Disney) Little Golden Book  reminds us that, "All you need is a little magic in your life!". Disney's Aladdin  which kicks off the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series brings magic to the stage with a  jazzy musical score, an explosion of color, energetic dance and a genie that takes us all on a fun magic carpet ride.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Day 296 Party at the Pier-Celebration of Pittsburgh Riverfronts- Benefit for Riverlife-"Riviera Dolce"

Pittsburgh, a city that boarders three rivers (the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio) was recently ranked the 2nd most livable city in the United States. Riverlife is a non profit organization that  facilitates the enjoyment of these rivers by helping to make them "cleaner, safe, and more fun". This blog encourages the exploration of  new experiences in  Pittsburgh and Riverlife  makes this city more enjoyable and livable by promoting  projects that enhance  one of our best assets, our rivers. This organization defiantly gets my support!

Party at the Pier is an  annual  event where 100% of the proceeds support Riverlife. This year, The Rivers Casino's ballroom was transformed into a little part of  Italy’s Amafi Coast  for "Riviera Dolce", in celebration of Pittsburgh's riverfronts. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Day 296 Try a Day at Kennywood Park-Rides- Memories-A “Super-cali -fragi-listic” Day

At an amusement park you hear the crackling and rumbling roar of roller coasters, piped organ music of the Merry-go- round and a prevalent  hum of screams and laughter.  One of my blog inspiration books, Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a (Disney) Little Golden Book reminds us that life can be a “super-cali-fragi-listic new day !”.  That is just what you can get at an amusement park that screams of fun or fear- depending on your age and the ride- but fear is part of the fun! Kennywood Park with 6 coasters and more, not only gives you  a riding thrill but also a nostalgic stroll as it elicits memories for many Pittsburghers from their childhood, teen years, and times with their children.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Day 295-Visit the Zoo-Summer Safari (food music cocktails)-A Magical Party in the Wild

One of my blog inspiration books, Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a (Disney) Little Golden Book, reminds us that the “world is full of magical places”.  When my son was a toddler the  Pittsburgh Zoo was a  magical place where we  could have a weekly  encounter with elephants, lions, bears, and turtles (these were my son’s favorite animals ). A zoo visit educates, entertains, and reminds us that we share this word with many other unique species.

Unfortunately, we sometimes forget to explore the animal kingdom as we once did when our children become adults and leave the family nest.  The Pittsburgh Zoo’s annual benefit event, Summer Safari, is an adult party that brings you back to experiencing the magic of  a lion’s roar, wobble of the penguins, and the vibrant shades of blues, yellows and pinks of the ocean world.  You can do all this while you hold a cocktail, sample delicious dishes from over 28 business, and listen to  live entertainment! 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Day 294 Pittsburgh CLO -Thoroughly Modern Millie-Jazzy Tapping and Vaudeville Laughing

  Thoroughly Modern Millie  transports  you to  the NYC jazz age of the 1920’s where skirts were shorter, hair was bobbed, flappers were dancing  the Charleston, and  everyone was living it up during prohibition. This musical has a  nostalgic vibe with wonderfully choreographed  jazzy tap numbers and  a vaudeville comedy thread. Although the overall story is a bit simple, it's a feel good musical with a fantastic cast that will have you laughing and enjoying  the energetic  rhythms of high speed stepping.