When it comes to holiday theater offerings, the choices can be a bit monotonous. Productions of “A Christmas Carol” and “The Nutcracker” crowd a multitude of holiday calendars.
University Theatre plans to break away from the mundane holiday fare when it offers a new holiday play, “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.”
The play was written by two female voices in the playwriting community, Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, the latter being one of the nation’s most-produced playwrights. The play itself was one of the most-produced of 2017.
“Miss Bennet” is a sequel to Jane Austen’s famed “Pride and Prejudice,” set two years after the novel, only this time with bookish middle-sister Mary as its unlikely heroine. Mary is growing tired of her role as the dutiful middle-sister in the face of her siblings’ romantic escapades. When the family gathers for Christmas at Pemberley, an unexpected guest sparks Mary’s hopes for independence, an intellectual match and possibly even love.
It’s not often that University Theatre produces a play that ties into the holiday season, but this year director Brad Myers decided to offer a holiday treat.
“After viewing one of our University Theatre productions last year, I heard an exiting patron remark that one ‘never sees a play at Fresno State that doesn’t contain a lot of swearing, characters having sex on stage or a character getting raped.’
“Of course I knew the comment was a bit of a generalization, but still worthy of consideration,” said professor Myers.
When Myers began looking for a show to propose for the 2018/2019 University Theatre Mainstage season, the patron’s words lingered in the back of his mind. He began to steer toward scripts that revolved around the holidays, yet were well-written and entertaining.
“What a happy coincidence it was to find ‘Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,’ a new play that was one of last year’s most-produced plays, co-written by the nation’s most-produced playwright.”
“Miss Bennet” runs Dec. 7 through Dec. 15, with the exception of Dec. 10. The Dec. 7, 8, 11 and 15 performances begin at 7:30 p.m., and the Dec. 9 performance begins at 2 p.m. Latecomers will be seated at the house manager’s discretion.
Tickets are $17 for adults; $15 for Fresno State faculty, staff, alumni and military; and $10 for all students. Children under 5 will not be admitted. The University Theatre box office is open noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays and one hour before each performance.
For more information, contact the box office at 559-278-2216 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.