Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Jane Austen characters appear in 'Georgiana and Kitty, Christmas at Pemberley'


Friends and family gather for Georgiana's recital. (Kevin Berne/Marin Theatre Company)

Playwrights Lauren M. Gunderson and Margot Melcon follow some of the principal characters in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” in a trilogy set at Pemberley at Christmastime.

Marin Theatre Company is staging the world premiere of the third installment, the delectable “Georgiana and Kitty, Christmas at Pemberley.”

This one starts in 1815 at the country estate of Fitzwilliam Darcy (Daniel Duque-Estrada), where the five Bennet sisters have gathered to celebrate the holiday.

Joining them is Darcy’s younger, unmarried sister, Georgiana (Lauren Spencer), who’s the best friend of Kitty Bennet (Emilie Whelan). She’s also an accomplished pianist and composer.

Unbeknownst to Darcy, Kitty has invited another guest, the shy Henry Grey (played in the Nov. 27 matinee by understudy Nic A. Sommerfeld), who has admired Georgiana and her music ever since a recital she gave a year ago.

He’s urged along by his outgoing friend, Thomas O’Brien (Adam Magill). However, the potential romance between Henry and Georgiana is thwarted by a misunderstanding that sends the two men on their way.

Set in 1835 at Georgiana’s home in London, Act 2 takes on a feminist tone. She’s about to give a piano recital benefiting her fledging organization to promote women musicians. By then there’s a second generation to the family.

There’s also a fortunate coincidence that brings Georgiana and Henry together at last.

As directed by Meredith McDonough, the nine-member ensemble cast creates natural, believable and interesting characters. Three of the women take on dual roles as the younger generation in Act 2.

The production is greatly enhanced by Fumiko Bielefeldt’s costumes, especially for the women. The handsome set is by Nina Ball with lighting by Wen-Ling Liao and sound by Madeleine Oldham.

Composer Jenny Giering serves as musical director.

All of these elements combine to create a joyful, uplifting way to celebrate the holidays.

Running about two hours and 10 minutes with an intermission, “Georgiana and Kitty, Christmas at Pemberley” will continue through Dec. 19 at Marin Theatre  Company, 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley.

For tickets and information, including COVID protocols, call (415) 388-5208 or visit https://www.marintheatre.org/tickets/box-office-info.