Tag Archives: Charles Bingley

Pride and Prejudice Play Review

Pride and Prejudice is the book that Jane Austen is most famous for. It is the story of the rocky courtship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Published in 1813, it remains a beloved classic more than two centuries after its initial publishing.

Recently, a stage version of the book premiered at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City. Written by actor/playwright/Janeite Kate Hamill (who also stars as Elizabeth Bennet), the play is the story of the middle class Bennet sisters who are in need of husbands. With no brother to directly secure the family estate for the next generation and very small dowries to call their own, they have only one choice and that is to marry well. Eldest sister Jane (Amelia Pedlow, who also plays Miss De Bourgh) catches the eye of the newest bachelor in town, Mr. Bingley (John Tufts, who also plays Mary Bennet).  Elizabeth is unhappily introduced to Fitzwilliam Darcy (Jason O’Connell), Bingley’s best friend. They don’t exactly get along.

This play is nothing short of brilliant. Using a small stage, actors playing multiple characters and Austen’s text (for the most part), the play is well worth a few hours of your time. I will warn that Ms. Hamill did make some changes that do not exactly adhere to the cannon, but the changes were well worth it.

I absolutely recommend it.

Pride and Prejudice is playing at The Cherry Lane Theater at 38 Commerce Street in New York City until January 6th, 2018. Check the website for showtimes and ticket prices. 

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Pride And Prejudice Character Review: Caroline Bingley

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the book.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Pride and Prejudice to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

For most of human history, women have been told, both consciously and unconsciously that being single is unacceptable. A woman needs a husband. This has created in some women, especially those seeking a wealthy husband, a less than likable reputation.

In Pride and Prejudice, Caroline Bingley is one of these women. The older sister of Charles Bingley, Caroline knows that she must marry, like all women of the era. She has her sights set on one man: her brother’s best friend, Mr. Darcy.  But while Elizabeth Bennet, Caroline’s unknowing rival for Mr. Darcy is charming, intelligent, likable and witty, Caroline is the opposite. She is a two-faced snob who pretends that her family wealth does not come from trade. She is constantly flirting and throwing herself at Mr. Darcy, despite the obvious signs that he is not interested in her whatsoever. She also pretends to be friends with Jane Bennet, but then convinces her brother (with the help of Mr. Darcy) to walk away from Jane.

If Pride and Prejudice were set in a modern day high school, Caroline would be the perfect mean girl.

To sum it up:  Caroline is the character we love to hate. We cheer when Darcy and Elizabeth marry, knowing that Caroline has not won, she will not be Mrs. Darcy of Pemberley. Ironically, sometimes the favorite or the most memorable character is not the hero or heroine that we love, but the villain or the pseudo villain that we love to hate. It’s fun to watch them try to win, knowing that in the end, they won’t. A writer’s job is to create compelling and memorable characters. If being compelling and memorable means that the we love to hate to the character, then so be it.

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Pride And Prejudice Character Review: Charles Bingley

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the book.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Pride and Prejudice to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There is always something fascinating about the new boy or girl in town.  The aura of their newness and mystery brings out the detective in everyone, eager to find out the details on their new neighbor.

In Pride and Prejudice, the book really gets going when the rumors in Meryton start to fly about the newest member of the community, Charles Bingley.  He is young, handsome and rich, as Mrs. Bennet crows in delight to her husband.

  “What is his name?”

“Bingley.”

“Is he married or single?”

“Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!”

The readers and the characters are fully introduced to Mr. Bingley at a local ball. Bingley is amiable, friendly and quickly develops feelings for Jane Bennet, the eldest of the five Bennet daughters. The feelings are mutual, but his best friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy and his sisters, Caroline and Louisa would prefer that Bingley look elsewhere for a wife. Though Bingley is smitten with Jane, he is convinced to break off the relationship even before it has begun.

The end of the book is not unexpected. While Jane is silently pining for Bingley, he is regretting that not only did he walk away from her, but that he let others make his decision for him. He returns to Meryton (with Mr. Darcy in tow, whom he will soon call brother-in-law), proposes to Jane and they all live happily ever after.

Often, when Pride and Prejudice is referred to, most people outside of the Janeite (the nickname for Jane Austen fans) community think of Mr. Darcy. But while Darcy gets the attention, Bingley quietly slips into the background. While he is not the romantic hero and needs to grow a pair, he is amiable, friendly and unlike his best friend, not judgmental or snobbish. Despite his second nature story line, Bingley’s character arc and growth throughout the novel is equal to Darcy.

To sum it up: Sometimes the quieter character growth is more important than the bombastic one. In learning to stand up for himself and his needs, Mr. Bingley grows from a young man who loses himself in other’s opinions to a man who is not afraid to speak up when someone else is trying to make his decisions for him.  Character growth, in whatever direction it takes, is the most important job of a writer, regardless of whether the character is in your face, or waiting in the wings for it’s moment to shine.

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Pride And Prejudice Character Review: Jane Bennet

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the book.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Pride and Prejudice to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

We all have that nice friend or family member on our life. The one who always sees the glass half full. The one who sees the good in others, despite their flaws. In Pride and Prejudice, that role is played by Jane Bennet, the eldest of the Bennet sisters.

The sugar to Elizabeth’s spice, Jane is soft-spoken, docile, amiable and considered to be the beauty of the family. When she meets Charles Bingley, the new guy in town, the crush between them is mutual. But his sisters and his best friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy aren’t exactly keen on the idea of a potential marriage between Mr. Bingley and the eldest Miss Bennet.  They conspire to separate the potential lovers in hopes of steering Mr. Bingley towards a more “appropriate” match.

In the end, Jane does marry Mr. Bingley, but not before he gets a backbone and she waits quietly for him to return.

Not everyone can be an Elizabeth. In creating the antithesis to her younger sister, Austen allowed Jane to shine in her own way. She might not have the bite or the sarcasm of Elizabeth, but Jane has qualities that Elizabeth lacks and visa versa. Where Elizabeth is quick to judge, Jane is willing to give someone a chance before making up her mind. The Hero to Elizabeth’s Beatrice, Jane stands out from her sister because of their differences.

To sum it up: No two characters should be exactly alike. In creating two different characters with different voices, beliefs and different points of view (especially in the same family) the writer enables each character to speak with their own voice and stand out from the rest of the characters. When each individual voice shines through, this engages the reader and gives them another character to potentially hook into and follow throughout the narrative.

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Pride and Prejudice Character Review: Fitzwilliam Darcy

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the book.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Pride and Prejudice to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

From a very early age, most girls are indoctrinated with the idea of Prince Charming. At a certain point in her life, a woman will meet her Prince Charming who will sweep her off her feet and they will happily ever after for their rest of their days.

In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen took this one note, predictable character and made him not only human, but an assh*le.

The reader meets Fitzwilliam Darcy when his best friend, Charles Bingley moves into the neighborhood and immediately becomes the new guy that everyone wants to hang out with. Open, friendly and amiable (and also financially secure), Mr. Bingley becomes the target of many a single women and her match making mama. When the locals find out that Mr. Darcy, in addition to his physical charms, is twice as wealthy as his friend, all attention soon draws away from Mr. Bingley.  But the lure of a handsome face and a large fortune do not last. Darcy’s charms quickly fade when he is discovered to be rude and arrogant.

(“Which do you mean?” and turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.” Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 3 Volume 1).

While the reader is slowly clued into the fact that over the course of the first half of the book that Darcy is beginning to fall for Elizabeth, Elizabeth is completely in the dark. The first half of the book ends with the worst marriage proposal in the history of marriage proposals.

After Darcy is properly rebuffed (and takes a beating to his ego in the process), he is revealed to be a man who is uncomfortable in large social situations and prefers the company of those closest to him. His charms are not his wealth and his handsome face, but his loyalty, his honor and the commitment to those who rely on him. Those are the traits both Elizabeth and the audience with and have stayed in love with for over 200 years.

To sum it up: Fitzwilliam Darcy has been a favorite of many a reader for the last two centuries because he goes beyond the standard Prince Charming stereotype. He is handsome and wealthy, but also generous, honorable, loyal and gives his heart completely to those who he cares about. In creating a leading romantic male role that feels real and human, Jane Austen setup a prototype of how to create romantic male leads that will keep the audience coming back for more.

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Pride and Prejudice Character Review: Elizabeth Bennet

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the book.

*A note before going forward-Unfortunately, life has gotten in the way of my usual scheduled character reviews. Thank you to those who have been reading for your patience. I decided to end my character reviews with the human characters from Star Wars and not write about the non human characters. It’s time to start on a new series of characters.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Pride and Prejudice to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

The romantic heroine has been around since the dawn of story telling. Her story, with a variety of twists and turns (depending on the writer and the heroine) usually ends with the traditional happy ending.  When she published Pride and Prejudice and introduced the world to Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Austen took the traditional romantic heroine and spun her in a completely new direction.

Elizabeth Bennet is the second of the five daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. Her father’s favorite and emotional mini-me, Elizabeth is smart, sarcastic and has a sharp tongue. Because she is without any brothers (and living in a world that seriously undervalues women), the family estate will go to a distant cousin, Mr. Collins, upon her father’s death. She also has a small dowry, which means that she must marry and marry well. In that world, marrying well-meant that marriage was more about income and status than affection and mutual interests.

When she meets Fitzwilliam Darcy, a friend of the Bennet’s new neighbor, Charles Bingley, she think he is a rich snob who is full of himself. Though I doubt anyone could blame her (“Which do you mean?” and turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.” Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 3 Volume 1).

Over the course of the book, Elizabeth will turn down a marriage proposal from the gag inducing Mr. Collins, be temporarily taken in by the charming smile of Mr. Wickham, and finally see Mr. Darcy for the good man he truly is. But first she needs kiss the frogs (Collins and Wickham) before she meets the prince (Darcy) and learn that first impressions may not always been correct.

Though Elizabeth Bennet was created over 200 years ago, she is a modern heroine.  She is a smart, spunky, nonconformist who is not willing to sell herself in the name of marriage just to keep a roof over her head.  Though she lived in a time with a very rigid class structure, Elizabeth is not the type of heroine who will unquestioningly give in to the demands of the upper class simply due to the mere differences of income and title. While she experiences some emotional bumps and bruises, Elizabeth is her own woman and is not willing to compromise who she is just to fit into the mold that women of her era blindly fit into.

To sum it: A romantic heroine does not have to be the fainting “rescue me” damsel in distress type. She can be her own woman and still get the guy (or girl, if one is so inclined) at the end of the story. Women still relate to Elizabeth Bennet  because she speaks truth to power to readers today as much as she did in the 19th century.  By creating characters that are human, modern and stand the test of time, the writer is sure to hook a reader or an audience member and keep them coming back for me.

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Rate The Darcys

In 1813, Jane Austen introduced readers to Fitzwilliam Darcy, her most famous leading a man. In the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, he introduced as a proud, vain man who refuses to dance with the novel’s heroine, Elizabeth Bennet. She was, as he told his friend, Charles Bingley “not handsome enough to tempt me”. He would soon admit that she had fine eyes. While the reader was being slowly cued into the fact that Darcy was falling in love with Elizabeth, she is unaware of his feelings.  Elizabeth, like the reader also does not fall in love with Darcy, until she learns about the true character of the man.

There  have been multiple adaptations of Pride And Prejudice over the years. With that, there have been multiple actors who have stepped into the shoes of Mr. Darcy.

Honorable Mentions

Pride and Prejudice (1940)- Laurence Olivier

For it’s era, this movie is fine.  Laurence Olivier is one of the finest actors this world has ever seen.  But there are too many changes from page to screen for this movie to be on the top 5.

Pride and Prejudice 2003-Orlando Seale

This movie and this modern portrayal of Darcy is admirable. But it only touches the surface of Pride and Prejudice.

Bride and Prejudice-2004-Martin Henderson

This colorful colorful Bollywood adaptation transfers the story from Georgian era England to modern day India. A good adaptation, which continues on the themes of class, sex and money.

5. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012)-Daniel Vincent Gordh

A modern youtube adaptation, the audience is only told about Darcy until about half way through, until we finally meet him.  An enjoyable modern adaptation that is sure to bring in more Janeites for years to come.

4. Lost in Austen (2008)-Elliot Cowan

A what if story revolving around Amanda Price, who find herself trading places with Elizabeth Bennet. While Elizabeth enjoys modern life, Amanda becomes a character in Pride and Prejudice and must undo the changes that her presence creates. A funny, wink, wink, nudge nudge mini series that is unique among the Austen off shoots.

3. Death Comes Pemberley– 2013- Matthew Rhys

Based on the PD James novel, we meet Elizabeth and Darcy 6 years after the original novel ends. When a man is murdered on Darcy land, Darcy must step up to defend his family and his good name.

2. Pride and Prejudice 2005-Matthew Macfadyen

Darcy is presented in this adaptation as a man who knows his status in society, but also as a man who prefers a close circle of family and friends to a large room of strangers. He knows that he must marry well, but is not a fan of matchmaking mamas and their marriage hungry daughters.

1. Prejudice and Prejudice 1995/ Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)– Colin Firth

This was a given. Colin Firth will always been the favorite Mr. Darcy.

Who is your favorite Darcy

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Pride And Prejudice 2003 Vs. Bride And Prejudice 2004 Vs The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Pride and Prejudice at it’s heart, is a very simple boy meets girl story. The beauty of this book, is that despite being set in rural Georgian era England, is that it is a human story. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy can put in another time and place and still be the same characters we know and love.

The last 11 years have give Jane Austen fans three very different and interesting modern interpretations of Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice (2003)

Cast: Elizabeth Bennet (Kam Heskin), Will Darcy (Orlando Seale), Charles Bingley (Benjamin Gourley) and Jane Vasquez (Lucila Sola)

  • Pro’s: This modern day reboot takes place in Utah. The screenwriters and director did not make any major changes to the plot, except for the older generation is heard of, but not seen. This movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is a nice change from the stiff upper lip adaptations that usually come from the Brits.
  • Cons: This movie is not for the cannon only fans.

Bride and Prejudice (2004)

Cast: Lalita Bakshi (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), William Darcy (Martin Henderson), Balraj (Naveen Andrews) and Jaya Bakshi (Namrata Shirodkar)

  • Pro’s: This Bollywood adaptation is colorful and full of life. Director Gurinda Chadha has a nice balance of traditional elements of Bollywood films while staying true to the novel. What makes this movie stand out for me is not just the class difference, but the cultural differences between American William Darcy, his British Indian friend Balraj and the Amristar raised Lalita and Jaya.
  • Cons: None than I can think of.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012)

Cast: Lizzie Bennet (Ashley Clements), William Darcy (Daniel Vincent Gordh), Bing Lee (Christopher Sean) and Jane Bennet (Laura Spencer)

  • Pro’s: This youtube twice a week webisode series bring Pride and Prejudice to the youtube generation. The producers were also very smart to have a very diverse cast of characters and actors. Despite knowing the book inside and out, it was a riveting series that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last episode.
  • Cons: None.

And the winner is…. I don’t know. I’ll let you  choose.

 

 

 

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Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star Review

Jane Austen, like many writers, had a formula to her storytelling. The ending was a happy ending, the conclusion was marriage. But that’s where the story ends. The rules of her era dictated that a respectable unmarried woman did not know the pleasures of the bedroom.

So, what does a Janeite writing a fanfiction do when s/he wishes to know the bedroom life of their favorite Austen couple?

They make it up.

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Lynn Rigaud, transports Pride and Prejudice from rural 19th century England to modern day. Instead of being a wealthy land owner, Fitzwilliam Darcy is the front man for Slurry, one of the biggest bands in the world. The Slurry lineup is completed with Charles Bingley and his cousin, Richard Fitzwilliam.  Longbourne Suffering, a band looking for their big break has Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Bennet on vocals while Charlotte Lucas plays the drums. Slurry has lost the opening act again and needs a new opening act.  What they do not is that the summer that Longbourne Suffering opens for Slurry will change their lives forever.

Is this the best Austen fanfiction that I’ve ever read? No. It’s a little on the cheesy side. The sex scenes are sort of robotic.  It’s the kind of book I would pack when I am going on a long trip and  I need to do something to kill time.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Confrontation- A Modern Pride and Prejudice Fanfiction

*-I do not own any of these characters beyond the Darcy and Bingley children.

*-Rated PG for language.

*-Please review

Confrontation

“That bitch, how dare she, in my home” Elizabeth’s rage was so great that she had to be bodily removed from the party and was not set down until she and Will were safe within the confines of their bedroom.

The comment had been partially heard by Elizabeth, but it was enough to break the mask of civility she had put up for the day. She had always disliked Caroline Bingley, but had tolerated her because she was Jane’s sister in law.  But that comment was the last straw.

Her husband remained silent.

“Dammit William, cant you see what she is doing?”.

“She is Charles’s sister, I cannot ask her to leave”.

Elizabeth did not know why, but she agreed that Caroline be invited to their home for the mutual 1st birthday party of Anne Darcy and Fanny Bingley. She had promised herself that she would a proper hostess and not under any circumstances let Caroline get under her skin.

But she did, she would have tackled Caroline if Will had not dragged her away.

“She still believes the fantasy that you marry her, Will and somehow, Georgie will marry Charlie”.

“It’s been five years, Lizzy, I hardly think that after all of this time and two children, even Aunt Catherine has accepted us…”.

Of course, that had only come about after letting Will stand up for the both of them, Elizabeth had enough. She declared in no uncertain terms that until the day Catherine respected their marriage, their children would be off limits to her.  It was only after the death of Catherine’s only child, Anne, and the subsequent birth of their daughter Anne that Catherine began to thaw to the idea that her nephew was happy.

“Caroline has had eyes for you for years, only you have been too blind to see”.

“Did you think that I didn’t know that?”.

“Then why did you not tell her you were not interested?”.

“I don’t know why I didn’t say no back then. Please, I beg of you, hold out for a little longer, I will talk to Charlie”.

He could still see the fire in her eyes.

“For me, please Lizzy”.

“Fine, I will behave, but one more comment and she is out on her ass”.

“Thank you, can we return to the party?”.

“Yes, we can” Lizzy agreed.

“Are you ok?” Jane asked as Lizzy and Darcy returned to the party. Dear sweet Jane, who seemed to let nothing bother her, especially annoying her sister in law.

“Just peachy”.

“It’s my fault, Lizzy, I was the one who brought up the idea to invite her, she is family…”.

“No, that ok, I can deal with her, it’s only a few more hours”.

Then she turned around to see Darcy and Caroline talking. Without warning, Caroline attempted to kiss him. Any attempt or promises to control her temper disappeared.

Lizzy pulled Caroline away from Darcy and knocked her to the floor.

“Get your hands off my man, now”.

“We are just talking, weren’t we Darcy?”.

Before he could respond, Elizabeth nearly pounced on Caroline “I want you to listen to me and listen well, for I will not repeat myself. We are married; he is the man I love and the father of my children. Nothing you do or say will break up this marriage and if you attempt to do so, you will be sorry. Am I understood?”.

“Darcy, you must control her, she is like animal”.

“No Caroline, she is right. I have always tolerated you because your brother is my best friend, but I will not have you coming to my home and insulting my family. Elizabeth is my wife and will be until the day I die. I have never been attracted to you, nor will I ever be”.

“You cannot be serious, she is a….”.

“What is exactly do you think my sister is?” Caroline unexpectedly turned to face her sister in law.

“She is a…” suddenly the words disappeared.

“Whatever you accuse my sister of; I must be guilty of the same crime”.

“Charles?” Caroline turned around, looking for her brother.

He was about to respond, until a little voice broke the tension.

“Daddy, my shirt is dirty” Lizzy and Will’s four year old son, Bennet stood there, his shirt covered in chocolate ice cream.

Caroline looked at the boy, who was most certainly a Darcy, but he also has his mother’s striking eyes. Then she saw the pictures.

The pictures of their wedding, the pictures of their children. The pictures of the life together that would never be hers.

Elizabeth Bennet had won, she was Mrs. Darcy, wife, mother, lover to the man she would never be with.

“C’mon buddy, lets get you cleaned up” Taking his son by the hand, Will led him upstairs.

“If you excuse me, it appears I have worn out my welcome” she was determined to leave with her dignity in tact.

As she walked out, she took one last look. She had spent too many years hung up a man who she had finally realized had no interest in her. Maybe one day, she would find a man who would return her affection.

 

The End

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