FloArts presents “Pride & Prejudice” – with a modern twist

Pride and Prejudice, students in costume

Florida School of the Arts presents “not your grandmother’s Austen” Pride and Prejudice – a fresh bold take on the beloved classic. The show runs June 14-16. From left, Ryan Mahannah (Mr. Bennet), Zachary Petron (Mr. Darcy), Olivia Gonzalez (Lizzy Bennet), and Jalen Hardy (Mrs. Bennet).

Pride and Prejudice, students in costume, acting

Florida School of the Arts presents “not your grandmother’s Austen” Pride and Prejudice – a fresh bold take on the beloved classic. The show runs June 14-16. From left, Olivia Gonzalez (Lizzy Bennet), Ryan Mahannah (Mr. Bennet), Jalen Hardy (Mrs. Bennet) and Zachary Petron (Mr. Darcy).

What turns us into greater fools…than the high-stakes game of love?

Based on the Jane Austen classic novel, Kate Hamill’s take on literature’s greatest tale of latent love has never felt so theatrical, or so full of life than it does in this effervescent adaptation. Often labeled as “this isn’t your grandmother’s Austen,” the play’s language may be traditional, but Hamill’s approach is uniquely modern, with select actors playing multiple roles.

The outspoken Lizzy Bennet (played by Olivia Gonzalez) is determined to never marry, despite mounting pressure from society. But can she resist love, especially when that impossibly aggravating Mr. Darcy (played by Zachary Petron) keeps popping up at every turn?

Florida School of the Arts presents “Pride and Prejudice” June 14 - 16, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with 2:30 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday in the black box theater at the St. Johns River State College Palatka Campus. Seating is limited. Admission is $10. Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the box office one hour before showtime.

FloArts play director Kevin Kelly said audience members should expect the unexpected. “Hamill’s version represents a loyal retelling of the story, but with an affectionate rebellion,” Kelly said.

“The play is kind of like a playground for actors, with many of the students playing multiple roles. The emphasis is on creativity and playfulness - not on trying to ‘get it right.’  The script leaves plenty of room for that, encourages it… demands it really. The students are just stepping in and embracing not being told what to do.”

FloArts acting instructor Ryan Mahannah, who plays Mr. Bennet AND Charlotte, said that stepping into the two popular roles has been a true delight. “As acting faculty, I am thrilled to join this production, not only to share my experience as a professional actor, but also to embrace the collaborative spirit of theatre with this cast of students. I eagerly anticipate the exchange of knowledge and inspiration,” Mahannah said.

“In this dynamic partnership, as they learn from me, I too shall learn from them, forging connections that transcend the stage,” Mahannah continued. “During my graduate and undergraduate years when I was on stage with my professors, those experiences are some of the best I had in my education. I am hoping to deliver that same experience to our students here at Florida School of the Arts as well!”

The cast includes: Jo Fletcher, Olivia Gonzalez, Scarlett Testa, Zachary Petron, E. Noah Perez, Farentino Lennox, Sara Tierney, Ryan Mahannah, and Jalen Hardy.

Production crew includes Christi Arnold, assistant director; Alexis Brockway, choreographer; Tiffany Jordan, costume design faculty supervisor; Jailyn Ruemmeley, Makeup Designer; Shera Hebblewhite, Costume Design.

Construction Crew: Jailyn Ruemmeley, Shera Hebblewhite, Lillian Johnson, Ian Leduc, and Scarlett Testa.

Florida School of the Arts is located on the St. Johns River State College Palatka Campus and serves the entire state of Florida. FloArts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards associate degrees in acting, dance performance, musical theater, stage management, theater technology, graphic design/new media and studio art. For more information, call (386) 312-4300 or visit