Tag Archives: Bingley

Backstage Book Club

Well, it’s here: the final weekend of Pride and Prejudice. If you’ve seen the play, or even seen it many times, you’ve laughed and cried along with all of us as we’ve brought Jane Austen’s story to life. Those who have been waiting for closing weekend are in for a real treat! We have a very full cast as we’re welcoming Nick back for our final two shows. That means you should get ready to fight for front row seats because no one wants to miss being serenaded by our lovely crooners.

Speaking of a full cast, it’s a wonder we can all fit backstage! Here’s an exclusive peek at the backstage world of Pride and Prejudice:

First, we concentrate on what’s important for the show. We set props, get ready for our scene changes, check our posted schedule, and double-check with our scene-change partners. We listen for prompts and cue from Steven in the the sound and light booth via intercom. There are leisurely costume changes, extremely quick costume changes, and make-up and hair re-touching (the boys keep their hair slicked down with pomade, and claim to be Dapper Dan men). If we have a moment to spare we help zip each other into or out of dresses or make sure suit collars are nice and straight – everyone needs help with their costumes at some point!

Barry, Scott, Terry, and Nick rehearse one of many scene changes.

If we’re not immediately needed on- or off-stage, we take a moment in the theater’s tiny kitchen to sit down, listen (and laugh) at the sound feed, read, study, snack, chat or just breathe. When we’re all packed into that tiny space we sometimes start to get a bit silly, leading to such backstage events as:

San Leandro Glee Club: There’s lots of music in our show, and we all like to sing along. So it’s no surprise that when everyone kept getting Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know” stuck in their heads, we gave in and started singing. Barry (Mr. Bingley) even suggested a mash-up: “I Wanna Dance with Somebody that I Used to Know!” Rachel and Taylor (Kitty and Lydia) have even been coming up with a “Kittya” rap!

Amateur Theatrics: We’ve done/seen the show so many times now that we all know each other’s scenes very well, especially the most memorable ones (Lady Catherine’s scenes are big hits with us). Sometimes we even act out over-the-top versions of our favorite lines, such as everything Lady Catherine says and, for some reason, every time Charlotte mentions lemonade. (Apparently there’s now a entire dance number around my lemonade line. Our glee club is going to have to have it’s own performance.)

Danielle Gray (Caroline Bingley), Sarah Asarnow (Charlottoe Lucas), and Julio Oyola (Mr. Collins).

Backstage Book Club: After Danielle (Caroline Bingley), Julio (Mr. Collins) and I (Charlotte) realized we’d be offstage for much of Act II, the Backstage Bookclub was born! Our book of choice was “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins (perhaps a distant descendant?). Now that we’re done with the first book (and eagerly waiting to start the second) we plan to spend our last two meetings in discussion, just like any good book club!

This cast loves each other! Terry and Alex during one of our many after rehearsal excursions to The Englander.

Finally, we spend as much time as we can enjoying each other’s company. We’ve all become very close in the past few months working on our show, and it’s important to make the most *sniffle* of the last of our time together, backstage, putting on a play that makes us all unbelievably proud. I am so grateful to have been a part of this production, to have spent this time with such an incredible group of people. I know our last two shows are going to be the best we’ve ever done, and I am so excited to help make that happen. As long as I can get through that lemonade line, now that I know what’s going on backstage.

— Sarah Asarnow (Charlotte Lucas)

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A Sassy Villainess

Danielle Gray as Caroline Bingley

Caroline Bingley here! I’m so happy to be a part of this show. I’m a big reader, but honestly, I’ve never gotten all the way through Pride and Prejudice before now. Hallie’s love of the text is infectious though, and I’m really getting into it. While thinking about my character, I’ve been referencing the original text (which of course has been on my bookshelf for years, waiting to be finished). I’ve always been a sucker for a sassy villainess, so I like getting into Caroline’s head. She’s every bit as smart as Elizabeth I think, and perhaps they aren’t as different as they’d like to believe they are. Both passionate and reactionary, both ready to whip a sharp verbal barb at a perceived attacker, and of course, both fascinated by the same man. The circumstances of their births and upbringings have simply given them different goals and priorities. Caroline’s goals are a bit on the shallow side, unfortunately, but she’s not without tenderness. She does love dear, optimistic Jane, after all. She has so many barriers up, I’m sure no one but Jane, Darcy and Charles ever get to see the real Caroline, sans defensiveness! All we can do is speculate, and enjoy her pointed commentary as she “takes a turn about the room.”

For this production, I’m looking forward to costuming and hair. I’m a sucker for vintage, and the 1940s had some wonderful fashion! What does WWII Caroline look like? She’s perfectly polished, of course, and expertly tailored. Her dresses are hemmed to the exact right length, her hat worn just so, her gloves spotless and the most fashionable color of the moment. There may be a war on, but you’d never know it from how well Miss Bingley wears her rationed silk. Perhaps you find her unpleasant… but doesn’t she look GOOD while she cuts you down?Back to the script for me, thinking about subtext, and devouring inspiration imagery. I can’t wait to put it all together onstage!

Danielle Gray (Caroline Bingley)

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