We have less than a week until opening night and rehearsals are in full swing. The amount of development the production has experienced over the past few days is both amazing and enriching. I thought I’d pen down few of my observations…
"When Lady Catherine insists, it's best to go with it."
Set Changes: Last weekend we choreographed the set changes. I have never been part of more extensive and complex set changes in past theater lives. And believe it or not, I started with the rather negative approach of , “Why do I have to this.” However, I ended up thinking, “Wow this seems good fun.” This was especially true when Hallie challenged us to make most set changes to happen in under 25 seconds. I loved it. It was like being in a battle field with the artillery being called upon to attack. But all fun aside – it was an amalgamation of absolute team work that required an understanding of every person on stage working harmoniously in the dark, changing a gazillion objects from one place to another. My special thanks to my pouf partner, Danielle, who taught me how to pick up heavy objects without hurting my back.
The Costumes: So, one night of rehearsal was just “costume call.” Seventeen of us tried all sorts of dresses and clothing specifically marked by character, size, and actors. There were, I am told, a total of eighty costumes to try on (not for me alone, of course). The amazing part was there were no overlaps, no fights, no attitude from any actors. We all did our little parade for the director- and she as the costume judge approved and/or disapproved of each outfit. It was a breeze considering there were so many of us and the costumes were a closet full.
Actor Turning into a Prop: My gorgeous daughter on stage, Laurie O’Brien, had a little mishap. She literally “broke her leg” (well ankle to be more specific)! Urg! what a loss to the characters she was playing (Lady Lucas, Georgiana, and Anne De Borough). On the brighter side, however, the character of Anne De Borough is a rather sick girl – so this mishap added a little texture to the play. Laurie turned into a prop and was assigned to four male actors during a scene change who carry her on stage as very sick Anne. This is hilarious and I think a very creative twist considering the circumstances.
Playing Multiple Roles: When I was originally cast in Pride and Prejudice, it was only as Lady Catherine de Borough. However, during our rehearsal period, the director added me as a mysterious, questionable woman, and then after Laurie’s mishap, I was assigned to play Lady Lucas. This gig came with a lot of surprises I thought. I’ve gone from playing Lady Catherine as a haughty, rich woman, to getting flirty with one of the most debonair and handsome actors (Alex, I wish the scene could have been longer), to embodying an old, haggard Lady Lucas. Though all characters make short appearances, I am loving the challenge of portraying all three of them – each one different from the other.
— Sukanya Sarkar (Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Lady Lucas, and Woman of Questionable Character)