By Carol Child
“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” This is probably the most famous of all the lines Jane Austen wrote. It’s from her novel Pride and Prejudice, the scene where Darcy proposes to Elizabeth. “Elizabeth’s astonishment was beyond expression,” writes Jane Austen. “She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement; and the avowal of all that he felt, and had long felt for her, immediately followed.”
Jane Austen died on 18 July 1817. To commemorate the bicentennial of the author’s death, I wrote a Jane Austen Readings script and it was performed on the stage of the historic Smyrna Opera House in Smyrna, Delaware, on the afternoon of June 3, 2017. Naturally, I included this scene — disappointingly, minus the appearance of Colin Firth in the role. Nonetheless, the audience, who came to luncheon, warmly received the performance and I have published the script.
My Jane Austen Readings for Readers Theater is available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle ebook format. You can click on the links below to look inside. Meanwhile, here is a delightful one-act play written by a young Jane Austen, that I did NOT include in my script, because I didn’t know about it then. It’s titled The Mystery.
Act the First, Scene the 2d
A Parlour in Humbug’s House.
Mrs Humbug and Fanny, discovered at work.
MRS HUM. You understand me, my Love?
FANNY. Perfectly ma’m. Pray continue your narration.
MRS. HUM. Alas! it is nearly concluded, for I have nothing more to say on the Subject.
FANNY. Ah! here’s Daphne.
DAPHNE. My dear Mrs Humbug how d’ye do? Oh! Fanny ’tis all over.
FANNY: Is it indeed!
MRS. HUM. I’m very sorry to hear it.
FANNY. Then ‘twas to no purpose that I….
DAPHNE. None upon Earth.
MRS. HUM. And what is to become of? …
DAPHNE. Oh! that’s all settled.
(whispers Mrs. Humbug)
FANNY. And how is it determined?
DAPHNE. I’ll tell you.
MRS HUM. And is he to? …
DAPHNE. I’ll tell you all I know of the matter.
(whispers Mrs Humbug and Fanny)
FANNY. Well! now I know everything about it, I’ll go away.
MRS HUM. AND DAPHNE. And so will I.
For more, please visit my Amazon author’s page: http://amazon.com/author/carolchild
And in Kindle ebook format:
Lovely post Samantha! And so great it was read on stage – well done! Lovely memory of your brother saying ‘I’m not doing it’ – It sounds like a Darcy comment –
Thanks, Susan. I’m glad I got to know Jane Austen. She sets the example of great writing — and subtle wit. As for my brother, he hasn’t changed. He is an individual; feels no need to please others, whereas I’m the opposite. Thanks for taking the time to come by and read this post. 🙂
Oh, Samantha, how lovely to read that your contribution to such literary gem was read on stage. Thank you for sharing. I think I’m going to scroll back up and read it again.
Thank you, Silvia. The performance — and the rehearsals — were fun. I had never written a theater script before — except the one when I was 10, at which, with the audience (our family) seated, anticipating, my brother, onstage, said “I’m not doing it.” So, we never know where our writing may lead us and what long-held dreams may come to fruition.
I’m hoping, too, that high school English teachers will find this script and use it in their English classes.