My Week With Jane

When I was in elementary school, my brother was in the army and stationed in Hawaii. We took a trip to visit him, but problems with the plane arose and the flight was delayed for a few hours. This was two years after 9/11 so we didn’t want to leave the airport and instead had to wait.

While we were waiting I noticed a lady across the way waiting with a big paper something. Of course being a curious child, I moved closer to look and saw it was a paper boy. Not a cardboard cutout, but like someone traced a boy and decorated it. I was trying to figure it out, when the lady noticed me looking and told me that it was Flat Stanley. A group of teachers had been reading Flat Stanley and passing him around taking pictures and when one had a friend going to Hawaii she asked if she could take him with her.

Wow!

I thought that was the coolest thing. For those of you who don’t know Flat Stanley is a book in which a boy, Stanley, is flattened by a bulletin board, becoming flat, and goes on a series of adventures. One of them is visiting his pen pal by being mailed in a giant envelope.

All I could think was what a great idea and how cool and fun to be a part of something like that.

Well…

Fast forward to Summer of 2020, everyone is glum about restrictions and most of us are not having fun.

When I saw that the Jane Austen Society of North America: East Washington and North Idaho (JASNA EWANID) was doing a Flat Jane.

Look at that!

After all:

They decided for the summer they would be sending Flat Jane about, she staying with the person who signed up for a week and then moving them onto the next home to visit. They then asked people on instagram if they wanted to sign up and I was like, yes please!

This actually became so popular they made several of them. My turn arrived and I was so excited and couldn’t wait to take her out on adventures.

Tea first!

 

Day 1) Sunday, January 3rd

What a Jane of a day! Today my friend gave me the Jane Austen adaption, Jane in Love by Rachel Givney, and then when I got home I checked my mail and inside was Flat Jane. I am so excited to start all our adventures.

It was great reading the Jane Austen Travel Log and getting to see all the adventures and things people had done. I couldn’t wait to add my own. Sunday I had my niece so I didn’t get a chance to do anything with Jane until later that day.

That night my sister and I did our usual #perioddramasaturdays It was my sister’s turn to pick and she chose Outlander, which I had read the first book but had not seen the TV show. For the occasion I made Blueberry Oat Scones (I’ll share the recipe later), that I had adapted from Plum Deluxe and we had Lavender Flowering Tea.

Flat Jane joined us for tea but declined watching Outlander. She was tired from her long journey from East to West and retired early. She espechially liked seeing the flower created from the tea leaves.

Day 2) Monday, January 4th

Ever since COVID19 Monday night has become Game Night! Jane and I played my new Pride and Prejudice game that I had received for Christmas. She won as I just couldn’t get the exact number to make my remaining half of the couple get to the church. I kept rolling over or under. I was planning to try playing Marrying Mr. Darcy with her, but I didn’t end up getting a chance to. I do plan to review this Pride and Prejudice game soon.

Afterwards, we played a singing board game with my sister, a sort of creating a song to a tune like in Who’s Line is it Anyway? When my turn came up I felt a lot like when Lady Catherine demanded Elizabeth play, as I don’t sing.

It was a fun game and hilarious as the game came with “lyrics” that were just too goofy.

Day 3) Tuesday, January 5th

Tuesday night Jane and I had pizza and watched Strong Woman Bong Soon, a K-Drama I recommend for any Jane Austen fan as it has elements that make me think of Jane Austen’s works.

Sooooo Mrs. Bennet

Jane loved the pizza (she definitely wishes they had that back in Regency England) and I think I swayed her to my line of thinking about the K-Drama…but she might have been humoring me.

Well…

Day 4) Wednesday, January 5th

Flat Jane joined us for our weekly Tea Party/Book Club/Bible Study on The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I think she enjoyed it, although it was unlike any bible study she has ever been a part of.

For these chapters we visited the beavers and had: Chami Winter Apple Spice Tea, a loaf of Dutch Crust Bread, trout, chicken (for the non-seafood eaters [me]), boiled potatoes, and marmalade rolls. Of course I had to explain to her the joke about boiled potatoes.

I will be sharing the recipes as soon as I catch up with The Magician’s Nephew posts. 

Day 5) Thursday, January 6th

After the Book Club/Tea Party/Bible Study I thought Jane would be interested in going to a regular bible study. She enjoyed it and marveled at my cat pen, amazed at how it looked and wishing they had such easy things to use when she was writing her novels. I plan to show her an Austen adaption tonight, but am still trying to decide which one…should I show her one I love or one I hate so we can both make fun of it? Decisions, decisions…

Hmmm…

I finally decided to show her one I hate, Austentatious (2015)

This is the worst Jane Austen adaption I have ever seen. We started with the first one and then she caught up to me with the second to last episode. After we watched the whole thing she was very confused about the whole thing and how it even matched up with what she wrote. Same Jane, same. If interested, you can watch it on tubi or you can read my past reviews: We Are Family: Austentatious, Episode 1 (2015), Big Girls Don’t Cry: Austentatious, Episode 2 (2015), I’ll Be Watching You: Austentatious, Episode 3 (2015), Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious, Episode 4 (2015), Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious, Episode 5 (2015), Drive Me Crazy: Austentatious, Episode 6 (2015), Make Me a Match: Austentatious, Episode 7 (2015), Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious, Episode 8 (2015), and Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious Episode 9 (2015). 

After we watched the series, we had a cup of tea before bed. I had purchased two Jane Austen inspired teas from NovelTea TinsPride and Peppermint and Sense and Senchability. I had run out of Pride and Peppermint as I had used the last of it in the tea advent calendar swap I made for a friend, so we drank Sense and Senchability. Jane loved it and was amazed at all the different Jane Austen inspired products that we can purchase today.

Day 6) Friday, January 7th

Today was a shopping day as Jane went with me to visit a local Vintage/resale shop as I was on the hunt for a purple teacup for my friend’s birthday this month. I found this adorable claw-footed one under $10.

We then stopped off at the grocery store to pick up a few items and Jane was amazed at all the food for purchase and the prices! Plus we came upon many things she had never heard of before protein powder, lactose free milk, Greek yogurt, every kind of chocolate you could imagine, and more.

Day 7) Saturday, January 8th

Saturday turned out to be a shopping day as well, as my sister needed to visit Jo-Anns and Hobby Lobby in the next city over (we have a small Jo-Anns and we do not have a Hobby Lobby). I agreed as long as we stop at one of my favorite restaurants, the Tea Bar and Fusion Cafe. They have the best foods and teas. Jane loved the HoneyTea Latte I bought for her.

Afterwards we went to Hobby Lobby where we looked for fabric for a book sleeve I’m having made.

I was looking for a dark fabric, but Jane spotted this beautiful china blue vase printed one that I just couldn’t say no to.

We only visited a quarter of the store and Jane was amazed at everything they had there.

Afterwards we went to Jo-Anns and looked around the different fabrics and of course I had to show Jane all the muslin they had.

Mr. Tilney mentions purchasing muslin for 5 shillings a yard in Northanger Abbey and that was a good deal, but Jane was amazed that today she could purchase muslin for half the price he paid (converting how much 1800s shillings would be worth in our money).

Day 8) Sunday, January 9th

It was time to say goodbye to Flat Jane as I had her for the week and she is about to journey on to stay with another friend. I helped her pack up and will drop her off tomorrow for her journey to the East Coast.

As Jane is going to visit another Jane Austen fan I couldn’t resist sending one of my Quill Ink Jane Austen Inspired Magazine Cover Cards. If you are interested in getting some for yourself check out her Etsy shop.

If interested in having Flat Jane visit you then contact JASNA EWANID to signup. I recommend it as it is a lot of fun.

For more Jane Austen, go to Is Emma Jane Austen’s Only Mystery?

 

Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious (2015)

I have a broken heart…

By watching this horrible show: Austentatious (2015)

But I pulled myself together to write this post.

So for those who haven’t been reading my posts or may have forgotten, this is the worst Jane Austen adaption I have ever seen. It is absolutely HORRIBLE!

On paper this sounds great, four of the Austen heroines (Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, and Emma Woodhouse) in modern times all being friends with each other. Mr. Knightley, Mr. Collins, Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, and Edward Ferrars are in this as well. Should be fun right?

Majorly

The problem is that none of this has anything to do with Jane Austen, it is boring, and it does the unthinkable-it actually makes you hate Mr. Darcy.

Yes, this is truly, truly, truly terrible and I really regret ever watching it.

But I’ve started it and now I have to finish it. So here we go…

So, May 2020 was the last time I posted on this. My goal was to review one episode a month, but as you see-I didn’t try that hard to achieve that.

So Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. But as I’ve said before they don’t involve ANY Austen plots or subplots-in fact, besides names they hardly share anything with the original source material. Elinor is an accountant, Marianne a Smoothie Barista, Emma a divorce lawyer, Elizabeth a real estate agent, and Knightley/Grant I don’t know.

So in the last episode, Elinor had a huge crush on IRS agent Edward Ferrars, but she discovers him with a girl in the smoothie shop. She doesn’t know if they are together or nor, bur assumes so and I think this episodes title refers to her “broken” heart.

Elizabeth and Marianne bought a workout machine which Emma volunteered Grant (Mr. Knightley) to put together and then left to “work”, but really hang out with Elinor who is working on tax stuff at the Smoothie Shop. Marianne is supposed to be helping put the machine together, but instead goes to ask Emma dating advice as she is interested in nurse Brandon, Grant’s friend, the one she met in the episode where her skin was turning purple (I am not making this up).

It’s super obvious!

Elizabeth is the only girl who stayed in Elinor and Marianne’s apartment, but doesn’t help put the bike together, instead just talks to Grant (who is hardcore crushing on Emma). Grant is struggling with the bike and invites Brandon over, who is hardcore crushing on Marianne.

I really hate this show, words cannot describe it although I do try, and the only thing I like is Blake Webb, (Colonel) Nurse Brandon. I cannot wait for it to be over. But the problem is we just have this and one more episode but there are a loooot of loose ends and plot points to sum up. Maybe they thought this trainwreck was going to go on to more seasons? (In what dreamworld?) I don’t know, but here we go with this boring mess of Jane Austen’s work. She would be so disappointed in you writers.

They failed!

They took this off Amazon Prime and I was afraid I would actually have to buy the episodes in order to watch it:

Thank goodness, tubi has it.

So we start off with Emma in her office with a bunch of dresses. Grant stops by, why?, oh-as she called to ask his opinion on what to wear for a date. Emma is really into this guy, who turns out to be a former client (oh honey no) Patrick. Oh, sorry- my objection is that Emma is a divorce lawyer and it seems like bad idea to date your former client who was recently divorced.

She should not do that.

Why is she asking Grant and getting angry at his guy answers when she should have asked Elizabeth or Marianne. Seriously, who wrote this? Was this just a shallow attempt at furthering the story by having Grant be here sad and contemplate whether or not he should share his true feelings. What does Grant even do for a living anyway that he is was at Emma’s beck and call?

Elizabeth gets a call and then runs into the worst Darcy in the history of all Darcys.

Ugh…this guy

Wow, for once he is actually is nice and not calling Elizabeth names and saying he trusts her with finding his perfect house.  Hold up, I think he has been abducted by pod people.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Back at the Smoothie Shop Elinor stops by sad and depressed. We get a flashback to the last episode where she saw Edward at the smoothie shop with a girl. Elinor shares that ever since then she has been feeling awkward. Edward senses her very cool mood toward him, and tries to get at why, but Elinor is just an ice queen.

Marianne tries to cheer her and gives her a hug.

Or life…

Back with Emma, Grant stops by with coffee ad lunch. He also pumps her about he date and brings up some concerns-a former client is not a good idea. He’s totally just trying to sway her against it.

Except he also LIKES her…

Elizabeth and Darcy go to look at the house and Darcy likes it. He doesn’t say who it is for but as he is buying it for “her” and she plays piano, it is obvious who it is for:

Back to Elinor who is so mean, and such an ice queen. Edward is trying to be sweet, and Elinor shoots him down. There is actually some good acting here. Poor puppy dog Edward leaves and Elinor feels like a jerk.

She should not have done that.

Wait, Edward comes back! What?

Wow!

He tells her he felt friendship and maybe more? He throws all the cards down that he is involved with someone but didn’t want her to think he was leading her and to apologize if he is out of line, or crossed the line in anyway. Aw, that is such a cute scene. And all Elinor says is thank you, ouch.

Poor Edward looks so sad and after he leaves Elinor cries.

From The Wolf Man (1941)

Grant calls Emma to invite her to a movie, but  of course she still has her date. All I can think again is Grant what do you do? You need to stop obsessing about this and go back to work, or work on a hobby. Grant continues to grill Emma and try to dissuade her. Like dude, seriously dude, dude no. You are just looking like a crazy friend and going to push her towards him.

Darcy invites Elizabeth to lunch and acts like an actual human being. Will wonders ever cease?

Wow! from The Blob

At lunch Darcy asks her why she wanted to be in real estate and Elizabeth chose it because she wanted to be her own boss. Darcy went into law because “it pays well” but really likes to fix things, using law to resolve conflict…and he likes to argue. It is a cute scene but I think it would have been stronger and had a better connection to the source material if it was his family’s firm as you know Darcy is all about his family name and honor.

Emma goes on her date with Patrick (Frank Churchill, maybe? They don’t make this quite clear) and this guy is an arrogant jerk. Just schmoozing smugness and just ugh! Patrick is putting it on thick for Emma and I’m just like PUH-leeze.

Just prattling on about his divorce is amicable and it lead him to be introduced to an exceptional women.

So annoying

Elinor and Grant are hanging at the Smoothie Shop, both sad and down.

Or heartbreak smoothie shop

Elizabeth interrupts them when he comes in and shares her great news of Darcy wanting the house and not being a total tool. We flashback and this scene is actually really funny where Darcy is joking but Elizabeth takes everything seriously and admits “you are fine just the way you are”, I’m sure the writers were trying to echo Bridget Jones’ Diary.

The next day Grant stops by Emma’s work again (what does he do for a living?) and quizzes her about her date. Emma loved it and receives flowers from Patrick (Frank Churchill?). Man I wish this show was a little more clear on who everyone is along with actually copying things from Austen’s novels. Grant seeing the big bouquet, gets down and exits.

Later Emma and Elizabeth are talking, but Emma no longer seems enthused by the date. It’s now just fine instead of being “great” like she told Grant. Everything went perfect-the food was good, the talk was fun, he’s handsome, but…it is also a copy of the first date he took his ex.

Yeah, GIANT red flag!!!!

Yes, when he got divorced he shared a bit about his first date with his wife to Emma and those details match up exactly with what happened last night. Now Emma isn’t sure this is the guy to be with.

Good for you Emma, run far away from this bad relationship.

Back at the apartment Marianne got a persent for Elinor. It is a box of folded paper and when Marianne pulls one out it says “Oliver”. It turns out that all the guys Marianne knows she put in the box, and when Elinor draws a name she’ll show her a picture and if she is interested set up a date.

Awww, Marianne is so cute.

Uh, oh. I hope Brandon isn’t in there. By the way, where has he been this entire episode? He’s the only one who actually acts like he read the source material and he is by far the best part of this adaption. Marianne rejects Oliver and pulls out “H”,

This is funny and a cute thing for sisters to do, but I honestly thought it was just going to be cute guys in movies and they were going to do a movie marathon or something.

Anyways, “H” is a guy with a cute dog, H being the first initial on his credit card (H as in Henry Tilney? Will we be introducing Northanger Abbey in the last episode? No, that would be too cool and too interesting, This show is not that.) H turns out to be the kid of guy who drinks out of the same glass as his dog and Elinor vetoes him as well. Then episode ends.

Soooo yeah, I hate this show. This episode was actually the least awful so far in the series. It still doesn’t have a lot to do with Jane Austen, but at least it wasn’t a mouse killing party or having other dumb story lines like in the previous episodes. It is a waste of time, but at least I only have one episode left!

 

IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN…

For more Austentatious, go to Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen film retellings, go to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe (2018)

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to Sense and Sensibility (1995)

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

For more Emma, go to Is Emma Jane Austen’s Only Mystery?

Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

Have you ever wished you could marry Mr. Darcy?

Well you can now in this game!

So I have been wanting to play this game for a while, I mean you know me and Jane Austen stuff:

I received it this year for my birthday in May and have been planing on reviewing it, but you know how things go.

This game was created by Erika Svanoe and Erik Evensen and it actually isn’t just about marrying Mr. Darcy, you have your choice of being all the single ladies in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: Jane Bennet, Elizabeth Bennet, Mary Bennet, Kitty Bennet, Lydia Bennet, Charlotte Lucas, Caroline Bingley, and Georgiana Darcy.

Your goal in the game is to try and earn character traits (the more points you get at the end helps you win) along with making a good match. Depending on your character, you have an ideal man (the one who will give you the most points), but you still earn points for whichever man you marry. Your choices are: Mr. Wickham, Mr. Collins, Mr. Denny, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Bingley, and of course Mr. Darcy.

Although there are a couple guys in here I would rather NOT have.

The first thing you do is choose your character, and each one has a special ability. I started off with Elizabeth Bennet who has a Dowry of 1 and a Wit of 2. You have to have a Wit of 5 in order for Mr. Darcy to propose so you get an advantage over the other ladies; eat your heart out Caroline Bingley.

So the game begins with lining all the men out so that you can see what they all need. Each man is looking for different things before they will even consider proposing to you:

  • Mr Wickham: Dowry of 2 or Higher
  • Mr. Collins: Beauty of 2 & Reputation of 2 or Higher
  • Mr. Denny: Friendliness of 2 & Wit of 2 or Higher
  • Colonel Fitzwilliam: Dowry of 3 & Reputation of 2 or Higher OR a Reputation of 5 or higher
  • Mr. Bingley: Beauty of 5 or Friendliness of 5 or Higher
  • Mr. Darcy: Wit of 5 or Higher

For 2-3 Players they recommend using 1/2 the event cards, 4 players 2/3 event cards, and for 5-6 players all the cards.

Each person gets three character cards to start with and you play the game. For each turn you pull out an event card, some affect only you-while others all the players. The event cards will allow you to “play” a character card-which  you put face up. The face up cards are the only ones who count for points at the end, allow you to be proposed to, etc. Its important to have them, but just because they are played they are not safe. They can be stolen.

Some event cards change the course of the game: Mr. Bingley goes to London (if you don’t get the card that brings him back he can’t be anyone’s suitor), Darcy’s surprise proposal (you get this you are instantly proposed to and don’t have to do the end roll to see who you get), and an Elopement with Mr. Wickham (you can only get rid of the elopement if you get enough reputation cards).

Just because you get enough of the character traits to get your dream man, that doesn’t mean you will get him. At the end you each have to roll the dice to see if he proposes, you toll too low-you become an old maid. But even the old maid has multiple options too, and you can still have a shot at winning as an old maid if you roll high enough or have a lot of character cards played. Your life as an old maid ranges from lonely bitter life, a companion to a cranky widow, governess to a wealthy family, your resentful uncle takes you in, or your kind and wealthy family takes you in and you become a celebrated author.

This game is really fun as you can play it multiple times-being different people and of course having different events, so no two game plays will be alike.

I tried every character because I wanted to be sure to give a thorough review before posting this:

Game 1: Elizabeth Bennet 20 points

As Elizabeth the best match you can make is Mr. Darcy (netting 15 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (7 points). With Elizabeth’s lack of dowry she can’t win a man with that unless you get an “inheritance” card-the other options being to try for men who are just looking for character.

I did not marry Mr. Darcy as my mom got the surprise proposal from him.

I did score Colonel Fitzwilliam and was only on point shy of winning.

PROS: Elizabeth’s special ability is a “Wit of 5”, higher than anyone else in the game.

CONS: Even though Elizabeth has higher wit than anyone else she still is at a disadvantage. I had enough for Mr. Darcy, but then my wit was stolen from me and I couldn’t get higher than a three. It really isn’t a strong advantage.

Game 2: Caroline Bingley 32 points

If you want to win the game, play as Caroline Bingley. She has the best chance of winning out of everyone. As Caroline the best match you can make is Colonel Fitzwilliam (netting 14 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (5 points). Caroline has a dowry of 3 and a special ability: Any time she draws a character card she can draw an extra card and decide which of them you want.

I won this game! I married Mr. Darcy as I got the surprise proposal from him and had 32 points altogether.

PROS: With Caroline’s dowry, if she does nothing she still can get with her highest guy, as Colonel Fitzwilliam needs a dowry of 3. Her ability is super awesome as getting to check out an extra card can really help you stack your deck, or discard cards that will be helpful to others.

CONS: As Caroline you have one less suitor (you can’t marry your brother, Mr. Bingley), but it doesn’t really affect you. Caroline can win the game every time very easily, the only way to fail is to roll bad in the proposal stage.

Game 3: Georgina Darcy 25 points

Georgiana Darcy is another way to win the game right away. The best match you can make as Georgiana is Colonel Fitzwilliam (13 points) and the worst match is Mr. Collins (6 points). Georgiana has a dowry of 4 and a special ability: Georgiana has a +1 to all proposal rolls.

I won, married Colonel Fitzwilliam, and had 25 points.

PROS: With Georgiana’s dowry, if she does nothing she still can get with her highest guy, as Colonel Fitzwilliam needs a dowry of 3. Her ability is very useful at the end of the game as if you screw up a roll you get that extra point to add.

CONS: Like Caroline, as Georgiana you have one less suitor (you can’t marry your brother, Mr. Darcy), but it doesn’t really affect you.

Game 4: Jane Bennet 22 points

As Jane the best match you can make is Mr. Bingley (netting 15 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (5 points). Jane has the same dowry problem as Elizabeth.

I won by marrying Mr. Darcy with the surprise proposal and had a total of 22 points.

PROS: Janes’s special ability is a “Beauty of 2”, higher than anyone else in the game.

CONS: Even though Jane has higher beauty than anyone else she still is at an extreme disadvantage. Her beauty could be stolen by other players; along with Mr. Bingley going back to town-if he doesn’t come back she has to try for someone else.

Game 5: Lydia Bennet 9 points

With Lydia the best match you can make is Mr. Denny (netting 13 points) and the worst match is Mr. Collins (5 points).

I did not win this round. My sister took Mr. Denny and I didn’t have enough character for anyone else. I ended up becoming a companion to a cranky widow. I know just who I ended up with:

Mrs. Van Hopper in Rebecca (1940)

PROS: Lydia’s special ability is any time a Party card is drawn she gets to steal 1 random Character card from any player.

CONS: Lydia’s ability only works if you are playing with a large group when you are using the the whole deck. If you are only using half the deck you don’t pull out that many party cards and she doesn’t really get to use her ability.

Game 6: Mary Bennet 17 points

With Mary the best match you can make is Mr. Collins (netting 12 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (5 points). Mary has the same dowry issues as her other sisters

I gained my highest guy, but lost by one point. Sounds like Mary’s life.

You made me stop and let other girls have a turn.

PROS: Mary’s special ability is she can take the top discarded Character Card instead of drawing from the deck.

CONS: Even when Mary gets her ideal man and achieves the highest she can, it is lower than everyone else. I think it would have been better if Mary could get more equal points to Caroline, Jane, Elizabeth, etc.

Game 7: Kitty Bennet 12 points

Kitty’s best match is Mr. Denny (netting 12 points) and the worst match is Mr. Collins (6 points). Kitty has the same dowry issues as her other sisters

My sister stole Mr. Denny, the only man I could get, so I ended up an old maid. Luckily my resentful uncle took me in…I guess things turned out okay?

Not okay.

PROS: Kitty’s special ability is when it is her turn to pull an Event card she has a choice to use a discarded event card.

CONS: Like Lydia, her ability works best when you play with a full deck-but it still is great in any type of game.

Game 8: Charlotte Lucas 18 points

Charlotte Lucas’ best match is Mr. Collins (13 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (6 points). Charlotte has a dowry of 2 and a special ability: Charlotte has 3 cunning.

I barely won this round, I married Mr. Collins and won by 1 point. I also kept getting inheritances and increases in dowry. Now that I have my own money, I think I’ll take a vacation without Mr. Collins.

PROS: With Charlotte’s dowry you have a big advantage over the Bennet ladies. You also have cunning without additional cards, so if no one else has saved any you get to go first in the proposals stage.

CONS: Mr. Collins only gets you 13 points which puts you at a disadvantage with Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. Like Mary, I think the top person should be equal in all of them.

What Didn’t I Like:

There are only a few things I would have changed, one the point system-I think that all the ladies’ highest men should be equal. That way if you net him you have a better chance of winning the game.

I also wish that the two eldest Bennet sisters had more useful abilities than the extra wit and beauty. They do have an advantage, but it isn’t really that strong-the other women seem to have better ones.

Hmm…?

What I Did Like

I really enjoyed the whole game.

The game was really fun, the events interesting, and I loved the little references to Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. I loved it and could play it over and over again (and did!) and tried to get everyone I could to play with me.

If you are looking for a fun Regency game to play, you defintely should get this.

I highly recommend it and am eyeing the expansion pack…maybe after Christmas.

For more Jane Austen products review, go to Jane Austen-Inspired Magazine Cover Cards

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

 

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

So I was on instagram, like always these days, and someone shared in their stories that Streaming Musicals was going to do a free live streaming film premiere of the new production of Pride and Prejudice: A New Musical. 

Or watch it!

I had seen it shared on facebook, I even shared it myself, but hadn’t really decided if I was going to watch it or not. However, after seeing everyone sharing about how much they enjoyed the virtual tea conference that occurred the day before, and that I couldn’t go to as I’m still going into work, I was like I’m not missing out again-I’m watching it.

I love musicals, in fact I studied drama in high school and attended a college prep/art school.

My senior project for my drama class was we had to find a musical, budget it, design costumes, set, etc-and create a look book with our findings. I of course being a Jane Austen fan actually chose a Pride and Prejudice musical, although that one was called, First ImpressionsSo not only did I want to see this because I love Jane Austen, but I was excited to see how this compared to the 1959 musical.

Hmmm…

So at 7 o’clock PST I got my pot of tea, computer, notebook, and sat down to watch.

The actual production was performed and filmed at Palo Alto’s TheatreWorks in Silicon Valley, where it ran December 4-January 4. Book, music, and lyrics were written by Paul Gordon, and of course Jane Austen.

It was really interesting watching it this way. I know I appreciated it as I may live in California but that does’t mean I have the time or money to see it live, so even though COVID-19 is a serious downer, I’m thankful it gave someone like me this chance to be a part and view this musical.

Hosts:

Before the production started we were hosted by three ladies, who unfortunately I only have two names, Beth Leavel and Julie James. They gave a little preshow talk, but I didn’t think it was as well done as Hillari DeSchane’s talk before the Mansfield Park Opera. I guess they thought that most people would already know the story, but I still think it would have been wise to have a quick summary of the book, the time period, and place for anyone who didn’t.

Hmm…

One lady described the summary of Pride and Prejudice as being a boy is rude to a girl, tries to ask her out and she refuses, but then she finds out he is rich and wants to be with him.

What are you talking about?

That really bothered me as it is 100% inaccurate. They knew from the beginning he was rich, richer than Mr. Bingley in fact, and it wasn’t seeing the house that changed her mind so much as seeing how he acted at Pemberley and how the servants praised him.

But they did have very high energy though, and when they returned at intermission they hosted the question and answer session better.

Quick Summary:

The story is really about a mother who wants to marry her five daughters as she constantly worries that her husband will die and leave her and her daughters with little to live on (her husband’s estate is entailed and neither person was very good at saving). She tries to match them up with any eligible men whether or not they want it.

 Netherfield Park is let and with it comes single and wealthy Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. Mr. Bingley falls for the eldest daughter, Jane Bennet, and she falls for him. No ones tries to win Mr. Darcy as though he is rich, he is very proud looking. Elizabeth overhears him make a unflattering remark about her and she is extremely angry.

Her sister goes to visit Mr. Bingley’s sister, Miss Caroline Bingley, and grows ill after being caught out in the rain. Elizabeth goes to stay and take care of her sister, also spending time with the Bingleys and Mr. Darcy.

Later, Elizabeth meets a man, Mr. Wickham, who says he grew up with Mr. Darcy and shares how Darcy kept his inheritance, forcing Wickham to join the military instead of the church. Elizabeth is pleased to have another reason to dislike Darcy, besides her wounded pride, and Wickham spreads the story throughout the community.

Mr. Bennet’s cousin Mr. Collins, who will inherit their home, comes to visit and plans to ask one of the Bennet girls to marry him. Mr. Bingley holds a ball, and Elizabeth hopes to dance with Mr. Wickham, but he doesn’t come and she ends up dancing with Mr. Darcy. Her siblings also are very embarrassing and her mother.

So embarrassed

Mr. Collins asks Elizabeth to marry him, and she refuses him. He becomes hurt and angry and instead marries her best friend Charlotte Lucas. Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley leave with no engagement to Jane. Later Elizabeth visits Charlotte and meets Mr. Darcy’s aunt and Mr. Collins patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. There she discovers from Mr. Darcy’s cousin that Darcy was the one who convinced Bingley not to ask Jane to marry him. Mr. Darcy asks Elizabeth to marry him, which surprises her and she refuses him.

Later Mr. Darcy gives Elizabeth a letter in which he shares why he encouraged his friend to refuse Jane and the true story of what happened with Mr. Wickham, that he spent his inheritance and when Darcy refused to give him more, Wickham goes after his fifteen year old sister. She knows this is true as what he shares is something no one would want to ever come to light. But after reading the letter, Elizabeth is even more confused. How could she be such a bad judge of character? She and her aunt and uncle Gardiner take a walking tour and stop at Pemberley, where they are surprised by Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth sees another side of him.

But then her younger sister, Lydia, makes a disastrous mistake by running off with Mr. Wickham. Will this destroy her family? Will this end her chance with Mr. Darcy?

Costumes:

The one costume I didn’t like was Elizabeth’s outfit.

From left to right: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Mr. Collins, Kitty, and Lydia.

So I really like the 1800s, especially the West, and one thing I read years ago that has never left my mind is that one way to tell if a Western film is accurate or not is whether or not the cowboys wear suspenders or belts. Belt loops were not created until the 1920s (for men and women), cowboys/cowpokes copyed the Chilean huaso of wearing sashes or suspenders. Some people wore belts, like soldiers, but they were often more ornamental and overlaid outfits not sitting in belt loops. So all I could do was look at this skirt and see those belt loops which were completely inaccurate to the time period. It probably was just an oversight by the costume designer, and I don’t know if anyone else noticed it, but I didn’t like it.

Although I do like the way they did her quick changes. Elizabeth is in every scene and wears the same outfit throughout the whole first act, but with other scenes adds a ribbon at her waist, a vest, and a jacket. I liked this as I had the same idea when I did my project although I did not care for the vest the put her in as it did not match.

Elizabeth Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy, Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins, Mr. Bingley, and Charlotte Lucas.

But I love what she wears in the second act. That dress was so cute!

I lovd Mr. Darcy’s costumes, but you know me:

This should say breeches instead of pants, but I didn’t write this so it gets a pass. It was an instagram answer from a question I asked my followers.

But enough about that, let’s move on to the musical.

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Act I

The style of music reminded me a lot of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s choice with Jesus Christ Super Star. In that production we have an ancient text juxtaposed with rock songs, while in this we have a regency story paired with pop. I really enjoyed it and the music as I think they captured the heart of the novel and were extremely enjoyable. Many of them I could see purchasing and downloading and listening to over and over again.

So I wish I had a book to go off, but I don’t so I don’t know what every song is called. But we start off the musical with Elizabeth Bennet (Mary Mattison) quoting the first line of Pride and Prejudice:

Then she and Charlotte Lucas then sing about “happiness in marriage.” In this Elizabeth isn’t looking for a man, in fact she has a strong leave me alone vibe, while Charlotte (played by Dani Marcus) was spot on in counseling her. I felt Marcus completely captured the character of Charlotte Lucas.

I really enjoyed Mattison’s singing and I think she did a wonderful job with the character of Elizabeth, although Gordon did make a few changes to Elizabeth. As said above, Elizabeth doesn’t want to get married and she doesn’t want a man (which isn’t what happens in the book as in the novel she isn’t against marriage, but just isn’t throwing herself at men nor is she interested in Mr. Collins.) In fact this sentiment is more similar to Emma Woodhouse..

At first I was a little upset at the change, but as I continued watching the musical I think it served well to enforce Elizabeth’s headstrong and stubborn side. Elizabeth believes what she wants and won’t listen to others, like Charlotte. Having her be so staunch in her beliefs mimics the way she acts about Darcy, believing Mr. Wickham and never considering there could be another side to the story, or thinking about the fact she believes this man with no proof. My interpretation of this was that one should be film in their beliefs, but at the same time not let their headstrong or stubborn ways blind them. In the end Elizabeth acknowledges that it is not a truth universally acknowledged that a man with fortune is in want of a wife or that every woman wants to marry, but to keep your heart open.

Elizabeth is also the narrator of the musical, and introduces her family-her father Mr. Bennet, mother Mrs. Bennet, and four sisters-Jane, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia. I also enjoyed the tizzy Mrs. Bennet is constantly in as she worries over their future and felt that Heather Orth truly captured the character-and Gordon was perfect in the lines he gave her.

“Mrs. Bennet: None of my five daughters will be old maids if I can help it…even you Mary.

I also enjoyed Tara Kostmayer’s portrayal of Lydia as silly, flirty, and needing to be the center of attention. And Gordon summed up her character very nicely in this:

“Elizabeth Bennet: Lydia is just 15.

Jane Bennet: Going on 25.

Mr. Bennet: In all but wisdom.”

I also loved Melissa Wolfklain as Mary Bennet. She was just so droll and perfect.

Elizabeth sings a song about being headstrong that I enjoyed, but the whole time I kept thinking of Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong GirlIf you need something new to read you should definitely check it out.

So after being introduced to the Bennet family we have the ball where we meet Mr. Bingley (Travis Leland), Miss Caroline Bingley (Monique Hafen Adams), and Mr. Darcy (Justin Mortelliti). I really liked the way Gordon and the actors interpreted these characters. Mr. Bingley is extremely tongue-tied and often has trouble relaying how he feels relying heavily on Darcy. This worked well to show why Darcy feels the need to protect his sweet, friend (treating him very similar to how he treats Georgiana) and why Bingley so heavily values on Darcy’s judgement over his own.

Bingley and Jane sing a song about their love and it is so cute. They both sing about how they like each other and want to tell each other, but when they try to talk they are too tongue tied and say hardly anything. It was absolutely adorable and both Leland as Bingley and Sharon Rietkerk as Jane Bennet were just perfect. I think this song really captured what Austen wrote:

“…in spite of his [Mr. Bingley] being a lover, Elizabeth really believed all his expectations of felicity to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the excellent understanding, and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste between her [Jane] and himself [Mr. Bingly].”

-Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 55

Adams as Caroline was also perfect as she was just the right amount of mean and snobby-she made the friendliest words sound like a slap in the face. Leland and Adams worked well off each other as Mr. and Miss Bingley. They were like two sides of the same coin-he geniality, kindness, optimism, glee; she rude, snobby, sarcastic, and cold.

“Mr. Bingley: I’m enjoying myself immensely.

Caroline Bingley: Yes brother, but that’s why you have me.”

But out of all the characters, my favorite was Mortelliti as Mr. Darcy.

Mr. Bingley, Mr. Darcy, and Miss Bingley.

One thing I really, really enjoyed about this musical was while it is narrated and told from Elizabeth, every song that Mr. Darcy has gives us a view into who he is. I think this worked for this medium as a musical and stage production you aren’t given the time and subtly a movie has as you can’t concentrate on something small, but have to make sure that no matter the seats they can witness what is happening. With having the songs show Darcy’s point of view and feelings alongside Elizabeth’s it works in with the themes of first impressions/pride and prejudice, and gives it a kind of his story/her story dynamic.

I really enjoyed this interpretation because even though we see how Darcy feels about Elizabeth throughout, it doesn’t take away from what Austen wrote and the realizations they have after the proposal and his letter (Darcy seeing how he presents himself and that he’s not right about everything [Jane + Bingley], and his decision to change; nor does it take away from Elizabeth realizing that she is not right about everything [Wickham + Darcy] and that she was judgmental because she was wounded, she changing as well.) Having Darcy’s songs just allows us see the two character’s journeys from the beginning. The title of the musical is a “new” musical so it seems fitting for Gordon to try a different interpretation.

Mr. Darcy’s first song is about being separated from the others, about keeping away from these people and to not fall for anyone. It is really interesting as the words are juxtapositioned with a soft melody, one that could easily be a love song. I personally believe that when Mr. Darcy made that comment about Elizabeth being not tolerable enough for him it was more trying to get Bingley to leave him alone as he didn’t want to dance or be there. Then later when she visits her sister, he pays attention to her and likes her-not realizing she heard his earlier comment. But this particular song and the music almost sounds to me as if Gordon is saying he did see her and is trying to convince himself to stay away, the melody being a seed of romance, the not tolerable being him trying to convince himself to not like. It is an interesting point and feel free to comment below what you think.

After Jane visits and grows ill, Elizabeth comes to stay and help. One of the best scenes was the accomplished woman and the turn about the room scene. In this Mortelliti did some brooding, but when he mentions their reasons for walking about he says it more flirtatious. We then have Caroline trying to bully Elizabeth and have Darcy find her boring. After Darcy shares his idea of an accomplished lady he says this while looking right at Elizabeth:

“All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

It is hilarious how Elizabeth drops the book like it is on fire and immediately takes it as a negative.

And of course spending this time with Elizabeth Darcy has fallen for her. He sings a song about it and I loved when he belted out how much he was in love with her. I also really loved this line:

“Oh dear God…must I like her eyes. Oh, I’m in so much trouble.

I like your eyes and d***it,  it’s alarming.”

I thought this perfectly captured how much he didn’t want to like her, it was the foundation of his future proposal, and I just all around enjoyed this song, best song so far.

Mr. Collins is introduced and Brian Herndon was fantastically pompous. He just was just so ugh-there aren’t any other words to describe him. And in my book if you don’t feel ugh when you see a portrayal of Mr. Collins than they are not doing it right. His song is just so awfully perfect as he sings about the sisters being this abundance of riches, Mary and Kitty’s face express exactly how I felt listening to it.

From left to right: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Mr. Collins, Kitty, and Lydia.

This song and the acting was great, but the person who stole the stage in it again was Melissa Wolfklain as Mary Bennet. There is a part where they sing Mary should be the one and her face is like Lord please, no anything but that-I’ll join a convent, I’ll go help lepers, just please no Mr. Collins. And later she uses a book to try and shield herself from his view.

Later the girls are out and run into Lydia and Kitty’s friends, Captain Denny (Sean Fenton) and a new face Mr. Wickham (Taylor Crousore). Everyone is pleased to run into the handsome and genial men…except Mary. In her droll and moralizing tone she states:

“Mary Bennet: I find war to be very upsetting.”

Melissa Wolfklain seriously just killed it as Mary Bennet. She was hilarious and perfect.

Mr. Darcy comes upon them and I love the staging of him and Wickham. Both on opposite sides and staring each other down like two gunslingers. With Bingley in the middle.

Mr. Bingley tries to flirt with Jane and instead it comes out horribley

“Mr. Bingley: Good afternoon Miss Bennet. You look…thirsty.

Jane Bennet: [Confused but really likes Mr. Bingley]…I am thirsty.”

They end up leaving Mr. Wickham and Elizabeth together and Mr. Wckham shares about Mr. Darcy being cruel to him. I liked Crousore’s and Gordon’s interpretation and how Wickham tests the waters with Elizabeth, feeling out what Elizabeth thinks of Darcy, and after hearing she can’t stand him then promptly upends his sob story. He sings a ballad about how he’d been wronged, (with the perfect level of pretend humbleness and smaryness) and his heartbreak to know being forced to live the life of a soldier instead of a clergyman. I really liked this line:

“I speak my truth to you”

Key word there my, my truth as in I’m lying.

The ball at Netherfield comes and Elizabeth is disappointed to be dancing with Darcy rather than Wickham. I really enjoyed the interaction between the two as Darcy is trying so, so, so, so, hard to flirt with her but everything he says Elizabeth takes as an insult. It was hilarious as he not overt in his attentions, but you can tell he is trying to compliment her but each time Elizabeth assumes he is making fun of her.

Again I really enjoy how much time we spend with Darcy and him sharing how he feels. It works really well in this format and makes a stronger show. Plus I like that they are trying to distinguish it from other adaptions, along with keeping pieces that people love from the previous ones.

After the ball Mr. Collins tries to propose to Elizabeth and when she hears he wants to have a private word with her I love how she immediately picks up a cup of tea. She’s all-I need tea if I’m gonna get through this.

The two sing a song with Mr.Collins going on about his proposal completely ignoring Elizabeth’s refusals. She rebuttals with the perfect blend of anger and good manners, and I like her final shove at the end that helps her words get through his head.

After that Mr. Collins marries Charlotte and the  Bingleys & Darcy leave Netherfield.  Elizabeth tries to comfort Jane, but Jane insists that that Mr. Bingley was just an acquaintance and she is fine.  Jane’s song is the perfect mix of beatiful and sad as she tries to convince herself she doesn’t love him but isn’t fooling anyone as in every note we can feel the heartbreak. It was a fantastic performance.

We then find ourselves with the Collins, Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Bingley at Lady Catherine’s home. Now I know why they were there as I’ve read the book, but it was a bit weird they didn’t have an introduction as to who she was or why Elizabeth was visting. However, my thoughts didn’t rest on that long as Lucinda Hitchcock Cone was perfect as Lady Catherine as she was just relentless in grilling Elizabeth. I really enjoyed how Mortelilti as Darcy has a smirk the whole time, as if he was just enjoying watching Elizabeth hold her own against Lady Catherine. Mr. Bingley just looks uncomfortable and as if he wants to leave, but is afraid to as Lady Catherine might turn on him, just trying to blend into the furniture.

In this Colonel Fitzwilliam is not Darcy’s cousin but is introduced as his friend, why the change I don’t know.

Oh, well.

Lady Catherine sings her song and it is one of the most egotistical songs I have heard, like levels of Ratigan’s song in The Great Mouse Detective or Gaston’s in Beauty and the Beast.

Elizabeth Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy, Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins, Mr. Bingley, and Charlotte Lucas.

I love how Elizabeth and Lady Catherine share that same stare of Death that Darcy and Wickham did earlier when they do a song battle:

And right in the middle of their “song battle” Mr. Darcy laughs and all pause and stare daggers at him.

I should not have laughed.

Later Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam are talking and he relays that Mr. Darcy is the reason Bingley left and didn’t propose to Jane. She is furious and sings a song about what kind of man could do this-but every trait and action she uses to describe Darcy perfectly applies to how she has been toward Darcy. This was very interesting as I’ve never thought of them as being the same, but in this production they are quite similar in their personality and the way they are perceived by others; except Elizabeth is a extrovert while Darcy an introvert.

Hmmm…

Darcy of course doesn’t hear her song and thinks it is the perfect time to propose, and again the comedic timing in this is just perfect. And while we are not surprised at Darcy’s feelings I love how both he and Elizabeth are

“Mr. Darcy: “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Elizabeth: [Completely shocked] You do?

Mr. Darcy: [Utterly baffled] I do?!

I could not stop laughing, that is comedic gold. Neither one can figure it out and he is so flabbergasted when proposing.Elizabeth of course objects and I love how he continues to be baffled and confused at her statements

Then Morteletti as Darcy sings and I loved this song. Morteletti gave it the perfect blend of anger, pain, and heartbreak. He runs the gamut of emotions. He has a great voice and every time he sings Miss Bennet you can just feel his heartache as he holds the note. Elizabeth is on the other side of the stage and sings as well, and you can feel their anguish. I know some people might find it as a cliche but I am a sucker for things like that.

End Act I

Intermission:

With intermission I put my kettle on the stove,

Got the snacks…and settled down to listen to the talk with the cast and Paul Gordon.

So they had a few questions for the cast and crew and it was really interesting to see them this way as you saw a view into their home.

Paul Gordon shared that he read Pride and Prejudice and watched many film adaptions before he wrote the musical. He said that instead of doing how he did with other Austen musicals, he decides to write the songs the way he felt, and that’s why they came out more pop-like.

One question to Taylor Crousore struck me as strange, as they asked him how it felt to play “Mr. Wickham, a very misunderstood character.”

Huh?

I don’t think Wickham is misunderstood, I think he is extremely clear in what he does and wants. Crousore, however, brought up an excellent point about the character. He shared how crucial Wickham is to the story, I mean he is the reason why Elizabeth’s dislike of Darcy is so high, but also the reason she realizes she was wrong about him, and in the end he brings them back together. Without him Elizabeth probably would have forgiven Darcy sooner and might not have refused him when he proposed-but then on the flip side without Wickhim, she and Darcy might not have gotten together. We will never know!

I didn’t take as much notes on intermission as I was getting the tea + snacks ready, and before I knew it, it was time for the second act.

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Act II

We start off with Darcy giving Elizabeth his letter, having had to write his feelings down as he wasn’t able to say it. Aw, poor Darcy.

I really enjoyed this scene as Elizabeth reads it angry and talking back to Darcy’s words, only to stop when she gets to why Darcy doesn’t like Wickham. It was done extremely well as Elizabeth is hurt and angry over what happened with her beloved sister Jane and Wickham, but then she softens when Darcy talks of his beloved sister.

Darcy’s song made me think of an ’80s power ballad, about his sister and the part when he belts out “she was fifteen”, you can really hear his heartbreak. Mortelliti was perfect in this as you could feel the love he had for his sister, the guilt he has for not protecting her better, and the anguish he shares over someone hurting his sister that he raised as a daughter (they are many years apart and his dad died when she was so young).

I’m crying!

I loved the duality of the song as Darcy sings softly, still in love with Elizabeth while Elizabeth is loud and harsh as she is angry-but then she softens when she reads of Darcy’s sister.

Elizabeth returns home and learns of Lydia’s plans of going off to Brighton. Jane has a song that she sings as they share each other’s news and their relationship is so adorable. I like how Elizabeth protects her sister, mimicking how Darcy protects his.

Before Lydia and the soldiers leave, Wickham and Denny stop by and say goodbye. I loved the exchange between Elizabth and Wickham as she lets him know she knows the truth and won’t take any of his charm. Wickham is so baffled as what to say or do, he ultimately just leaves. Hilarious!

Elizabeth is invited to go on a walking tour with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner and they end up at Pemberley, which gets its own song. I’m glad it does as it needed to and if it hadn’t I would be solely disappointed.

“Cast: Pemberley we love you tenderly.”

I’m so happy they said that this would be on the site forever. Then all of you who missed it can have another chance to watch, or rewatch it.

Elizabeth listens to the  servants talk about Darcy, and that combined with the letter leaves her puzzled as to who is Darcy. I really enjoyed this song, as I did with all of them and I encourage you to purchase them and sing while quarantined.

As Elizabeth sings Darcy coms up behind her, surprising her. It is such a cute scene I wish I had been fast enough to screenshot it.

Elizabeth is embarrassed to be there as they didn’t realize that he was coming home.

“Mr. Darcy: I find the intrusion rather agreeable.”

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhh!!!!!! He is so cute!

So while this Darcy isn’t as broody as other depictions, you still see a change in him as he realized how he was being seen by others and becomes much more open. It is amazing what a difference in body language, and looking back there were sublte difference throughout the musical in every scene with him. They are so cute together, *Swoon*. 

How sweet!

He introduces Elizabeth to his sister Georgiana, and it is so adorable.

“Georgiana Darcy: It is a pleasure to meet you. My brother speaks of you so often!

Elizabeth Darcy: [Surprised] Does he?

Mr. Darcy [Definitely] He does!”

AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!! So cute!

How sweet!

Miss Bingley is back and snobby and sarcastic as ever. Monique Hafen Adams, you are perfect at it. Mr. Bingley is there as well and it is so obvious he is trying to grill her about any news of Jane.

Darcy was just so perfect- I gushed so much while I was watching this scene that I accidentally wrote over what I wrote and I now cannot decipher it, except that Justin Mortelliti and Paul Gordon did this perfectly and I think Jane Austen would be proud.

Elizabeth receives Jane’s letter about Lydia and then Darcy finds out he is angry. I liked the way Mortelliti portrayed it and how you can see how upset he is and the guilt he feels-taking on the blame that another 15 year old and another family has to go through this. He quickly leaves, running off to find them.

But Elizabeth misunderstands it, thinking that it is directed at her, that he is ashamed and it is so sad as she has lost him. She has finally admitted it and realizes she does care for him and wants to be with him. It is a powerful song!

Back at home it is a mess. Mary tries to be helpful, but her moralizing is horrid and anything but soothing. Mrs. Bennet is going to pieces and if they had a play with just the two of them I would love it. They would be a screwball comedy team for sure.

Mr. Bennet returns:

“Mrs. Bennet: You look miserable.

Kitty: Papa always looks miserable.”

So usually in this scene Mr. Bennet threatens Kitty with no trips, no going out, being grounded until 50 years of age, etc. But instead of Chanel Tilghman playing Kitty as whining and throwing a tantrum at how unfair it is-Tilghman just looks at her father and laughs it off. I really loved that as Mr. Bennet is so curmudgeonly throughout the play that I could see her not taking him serious, much better than her wailing.

Lydia returns with Wickham and he tells everyone about how wonderful and happy he is to be married. Wow, Crousore is a talented actor, I almost believed him. He is so smarmy and slimy I just want to punch him in the face, perfect! In my book you are not a good Wickham unless you make me want to sock you.

Lydia let’s it slip that Darcy was at the wedding, and Elizabeth is further puzzled. Who is Darcy? She was so sure who she knew his character, but now she does not know. She muses over what Lydia said…

“Elizabeth Bennet: [Singing] And he didn’t want it known…”

You know, that speaks really well of a person’s character when they do something extremely kind and don’t want it known. Darcy didn’t want to do this for Lydia he wanted to do it for Elizabeth and he never wanted her to know, he never wanted her to think he was trying to bribe her affections, or buy them back.

“Elizabeth Bennet: Is it too late to tell you…”

Aw, so heartbreakingly sad. So perfect!

Bingley returns and all pretend they don’t care but the do. I can see pieces of the other films in this, such as the hustle and bustle they have when Bingley is coming is like Pride and Prejudice (2005).

Mr. Bingley is so shy and tongue twisted, you once again see why Mr. Darcy wants to help him and protect him. He sings about how much he loves Jane and it is just so gosh darn adorable. Now if only you could just tell her that.

He and Darcy leave, but then Bingley gets his strength back and returns.

“Jane Bennet: Wonderful to see you again and so soon…after your last visit.”

Aw, they are so cute!!!

Come on Bingley!!! Just say it already!

And then he does! He finally sings all his feelings!! Yay! Aw, so cute!!!

After that happiness we have the horror. The carriage is coming…DUN, DUN, DUN! Lady Catherine!

She and Elizabeth have another song battle and every word that comes out of Lady Catherine is dripping with disdain. Elizabeth’s song is a verbal beatdown of Lady C. and it was perfect.

The interaction after this of Darcy and Elizabeth is one of my favorites, Darcy is practicing what to say to Elizabeth, and it is soooooo cute. It is the scene I have always wanted and ever realized it.

When he and Elizabeth have a chance to talk and he hears that her feelings have changed, oh the hope in his voice. I love it!!! My favorite part is they are seprated by a stream and Darcy moves to her…

But then he waits, letting Elizabeth make the final step-everything is in her court, he doesn’t want to push her, he doesn’t want to influence her, he wants her to decide based on her heart and feelings. And when she moves in they kiss! So cute and their song! So adorable! So romantic. He waits for her to take the “leap” to him ad then after they cross over together.

Soooo cute!!!!

And they take the leap over the stream together! Awwwwwwww! It was so adorable and gosh darn romantic and aw! Aw! I LOVE IT!

At the end we have a review of the couples as as it ends I’m sad it is over.

So I just LOVED it! I thought it was amazing and cute and adorable! The music was fantastic and I think you all should watch it if you haven’t, and if you have-it is definitely worth another rewatch. Go here to watch it.

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part II, Other Eras

For more Jane Austen stage productions, go to Modesto Jane Con: Opera Modesto Presents Mansfield Park

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part I, The Regency

Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie

So if you have been following me, you know I have been super excited about Modesto Jane Con. The past eight years I have seen pictures from different Jane Con’s and wishing I could go-but they were not possible for me to attend as it always came down to a problem of time, money, work, etc. Instead I had to be content with seeing pictures on social media.

YEEEEES!!!!!!

But then there was a light in the darkness! On my instagram popped up a post about a Jane Con in Modesto! Modesto! I could go to Modesto!

No horror-glee and happiness instead!

From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!

Your $30 ticket allowed you to attend the workshops (BOTH DAYS) and see one showing of Mansfield Park Opera (your choice of Saturday or Sunday).

That was it, I was going! And I convinced my book club + my sister to join me. I scrounged around for a costume (I’ll post on that later) and made sure to bring a notebook to take copious notes on the workshop and opera-to of course post on them later (as I am now).

So the first workshop of the day was Gowns & GroansAfter that you had your choice of The Definitive Darcy or Start You Own Book Club. 

Our group decided against the book club workshop as we already had one, although I am sure it was absolutely amazing, and instead decided to attend The Definitive Darcy. 

Ah, Darcy.

I was excited for this workshop as there are so many adaptions of Pride and Prejudice, oh this will be so much fun! I mean you have a ton of Regency Darcys to choose from:

AND a ton of modern adaptions (and yes I know the above has a picture of Darcy from Bride and Prejudice. I didn’t make the image):

And let’s not forget-we aren’t just looking at Darcy. We are also trying to define the definitive Elizabeth.

This workshop was run by Erin E. Connor and Melissa Ruzika:

Why is Mr. Darcy such a big deal and why are we wild about Lizzie? Join JASNA Central California executive committee members Erin and Melissa as they delve into Austen’s most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, and its three most popular film adaptions. Bring your own opinions and take sides in a friendly debate as to who is the definitive Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

Erin E. Conor is a lifelong Jane Austen fan. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) and serves as member-at-large on the Executive Committee for the Central California region of JASNA. Her favorite Austen novel is Emma, and her favorite Austen inspired film is Austenland.

Melissa Ruzika is a long time JASNA member and Central California Region Executive Committee member. Her knowledge of Jane Austen and her works is deep, and Melissa is known for being an acute observer of JA in popular culture with solid textual backing for her opinions.

Debate you say? Okay:

I’m ready:

So one of the nicest things that Connor and Ruzika had with their workshops were handouts and a paddle with the Firth and Macfayden Darcys to engage the crowd in the debate in order so that everyone could be heard.

Connor and Ruzika started off with Historical Context, discussing what the Regency period was. You can click on the link above for more information, but a brief overview:

  • Crazy King George III (sorry I’m American) had to take a step down from ruling as he was suffering from a disease (believed to be porphyria) that made him mad, and his son had to become Prince Regent.
  • The Regency Period is believed to be 1795-1837, with the Prince Regent ruling from 1811-1820. When King George died in 1820, the Prince became King.
  • The Prince Regent was a giant fan of Jane Austen.
  • There was the Industrial Revolution in the North (Any North & South fans out there? It is set in the Victorian time period but shows the difference between the industrial North and the Countryside South extremely well.)
  • There was serious class division, with an emerging middle class (The Gardiners who reside in Cheapside
  • It was the Romantic Era.

From there we got a quick overview of the book Pride and Prejudice as Connor & Ruzika had provided a handout from Playful Paths to Love and one from shmoop to give us a better idea on how rich Darcy would be today. We (book club, sister, and I) really loved that as while I am the serious Janeite, the rest of the group isn’t. One member of our group had never even read the book or seen any of the movies, only having read The Darcy Monologues for our book club. I’m not sure about the rest of the crowd, but I am certain that there had to be some others who were grateful for the refresher.

And even if you know the story frontwards and backwards, it is one that I never get tired of hearing.

We then had a brief discussion of Pride and Prejudice (1940), but they didn’t spend that much time on it. They later explained that they felt that not that many people have seen it (or liked it), and I understand time is limited.

Aw, man!

But as we have time, I’m throwing the trailer in here. It may not be accurate, but still is a great film and the first P&P adaption I ever saw. Plus LAURENCE OLIVIER! *Sigh*

I wish we could have looked at all the depictions, but that would have taken too much time. Although I’d be down for it.

Anyways-we then moved onto the debate. Colin Firth versus Matthew MacFayden, Jennifer Ehle versus Keira Knightley, Simon Langton versus Joe Wright, BBC versus Universal, etc.

 

Fight, fight, fight! (from Jane Austen Fight Club)

So starting with the trailers:

Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

So now that we have seen the trailers, LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So after they discussed each facet they had us hold up our paddles to determine who won.

I’m in this photo.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write down who won each scene:

So I’ll just put my thoughts at the end.

Round 1: Mr. Collins, Tom Hollander Vs. David Bamber

So the group started off with the Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice (2005) the boiled potatoes scene. 

I know a lot of people love that scene, and I admit that I love Hollander’s stone faced delivery, however, it never really struck me as much as it does everyone else.

For Bamber they showed him trying to dance. But the scenes that really sell me on Mr. Collins is when they are getting ready for the ball and he runs into Lydia, and the Mr. Collins wave. Those scenes are priceless! 

IMO Winner: P&P (1995) David Bamber

Well-played!

Round 2: Sexy Darcy, Hand Clench Vs Firth in Bathtub & the Wet Shirt Scene

So the hand clench scene, I understand it but I don’t go crazy over it. First of all, as Doiel said in Gowns and Groans, they should have been wearing gloves. And not to be rude-but to me it always looks like his hand has a spasm. That’s just my view, if you love this scene then love it. I actually like this scene better.

For the 1995, they had the bath scene:

And the wet shirt/lake scene:

This had an obvious winner, I mean how can you resist Mr. Darcy in a wet shirt?

IMO Winner: P&P (1995) Bath Scene + Wet Shirt

Round 3: Meryton Assembly

So they started off with the Meryton Ball in 2005. Now I don’t really care for it as I am mostly distracted by how Caroline Bingley forgot to put a real dress on, she looks as if she is in a chemise not a gown. I never cared for how casual the Bennet sisters look as Mrs. Bennet most definitely would be wanting the girls to be more dressed up in order to snag a husband. It is lively, but I don’t care for the interactions between the characters:

Now the 1995 version is more subdued, but I like the costume choices better, and to me I like that it is concentrated on small scenes (Bingley & Jane along with Darcy & Elizabeth) with not so much going on in the background.

IMO Winner: P&P (1995)

Round 4: Romantic Aesthetic Vs. Accuracy

So Pride and Prejudice (2005) has a lot of romantic elements. You have these big scenic panoramas, Elizabeth on the cliff, Darcy and Elizabeth in the neoclassical building when he proposes (1st time), and the slow walk along the field in the early dawn (2nd proposal). This I personally don’t like, as Connor and Ruzika said, it is very Bronte-esque, but that is my biggest problem. Jane Austen is not Jane Bronte. And I really don’t like the scene where he finds her in the rain, as how did he know she would be there? And the field scene, they just happen to be there at the same time? Besides one of my favorite parts is at the end of the book when Mr. Darcy comes around with Bingley and Elizabeth is doing all she can to try and get his attention and figure out a way to talk to him, but is thwarted and unsure. And that longing and loss of hope-just gets me every time, will they get together ?!

And “Your hands are cold” I’ve always disliked that line as I feel it just kills the mood.

With me I love the accuracy of the mini-series, but of course there are things added in, like the Lake scene. But one of my favorite is when they are getting ready for the ball and the interaction between the sisters and Mr. Collins.

IMO Winner: P&P (1995)

Round 5: Bennet Family, “Behave Naturally” Vs. “Meet the Bennets”

So to get a view into the different relationships with the Bennet sisters, they used the “Behave Naturally” scene from P&P (2005). This is a great scene, even I love it.

The scene they chose from the P&P (1995) version is also a great scene. You really get the family dynamic in this one.

IMO Winner: Tie

Round 5: Darcy’s Flirtation, Sisterly Help Vs. Hungry Eyes

So with 2005, they chose the scene in which Elizabeth goes to Pemberley and meets Georgiana. It is a good scene as we get a new view of him from the servants, how he interacts with Georgiana, and that Darcy has been talking about her quite a bit with his sister. However, I have always hated Elizabeth skulking around and that peeping tom camera angle. I know it is partly because they had to combine different parts of the book for time limit, but her looking through the door gives me Norman Bates Psycho vibes.

For the 1995 version, they used a fan made video of Darcy staring and Hungry Eyes playing. That video is AMAZING but my favorite flirtation scene is when Darcy goes to see Elizabeth when she is staying at the Collins’ house, and Darcy comes to visit her and just stares or stares out the window because he doesn’t know what to say.

IMO Winner: P&P (1995)

So in my opinion there is a clear winner between Firth & Ehle versus Macfayden & Knightley:

But as for Jane Con? Everyone who had a paddle held it up and it came out to be 18-18

But then someone brought up the fact that not everyone had a paddle so they had us stand and count. The final result came out to be…………………………….

22-20 in favor of………

Yes Modesto Jane Con 2020 Declared Colin Firth as the Definitive Mr. Darcy.

So we all loved this workshop. They were fun, informative, interactive, and in the end we all could agree whether you love the 1995 or 2005 version, we all love Pride and Prejudice.

The only thing I would love more is if we looked at the other Darcy’s from films and TV shows, although I understand that wouldn’t be possible in one hour. I also would like to know who they think the worst Darcy is. I personally think it is the one in Austentatious (2015), which  ugh, I still have to finish watching.

For more on Modesto Jane Con, go to Modesto Jane Con: Gowns & Groans, A Costumer Looks at Regency Costumes on Film and Stage

For more Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

For more Elizabeth Bennet, go to YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

For more on Mr. Darcy, go to I Wrote Mr. Darcy a Letter

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe