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A spirit that is not afraid

AU Players presents 'Pride and Prejudice'

<p>Patrick Reagan (left) and Evie Slaughenhoup (right) prepare for their upcoming performance.</p>

Patrick Reagan (left) and Evie Slaughenhoup (right) prepare for their upcoming performance.

AU Players will present their yearly production at Kreher Preserve and Nature Center on April 27 and 28 at 2 p.m. Pride and Prejudice will run for just over 90 minutes with an intermission.

Members of AU Players have been rehearsing since January, first in the theatre to eventually practicing at the Kreher Preserve, and they are so excited to share their hard work with the Auburn community.

As far as dress, viewers are welcome to dress up to match the theme of the Regency era in which the play is set; dress formal or just dress completely casual.

Auburn student Avonlea Yeakley is the director of AU Player’s Pride and Prejudice. She is a senior obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts in performance, a minor in dance and a minor in costume and wigs. 

Regarding dress code, Yeakley said, “We just want people to be comfortable in the space.”

AU Players is one of the oldest student organizations on Auburn’s campus, officially originating in 1919. Octavia Spencer, one of Auburn’s well-known alumna and now-successful actress, was a proud member of AU Players during her time here.

AU Players presents one play a year, and the organization extends beyond theatre majors. Everyone is welcome to join. Some of the actors in Pride and Prejudice are not even part of the department, making it a space for anyone and everyone.

Yeakley believes that Jane Austen, author of the book Pride and Prejudice, wrote a work that remains relevant today. This is why she wanted to direct this show and has chosen to give the production a more contemporary spin.

“We’re still battling with such complex gender issues and gender expectations surrounding what women are supposed to be doing with their lives. I found that really intriguing, and I was excited to take Pride and Prejudice and bring it into a more modern lens,” Yeakley said.

Yeakley then talked about her favorite part of directing, though she is primarily an actress. She explained how actors tend to get very in their heads on stage about if they are portraying their characters in the right way.

“To me, the best thing about directing is that I get to step outside of that and look at everything objectively from a staging standpoint, but also a relationship standpoint,” Yeakley said.

Yeakley went on to talk about the unique opportunity to see the production from the audience’s point of view but be able to make critiques.

“I have no particular stake in any of these because I’m not playing any of these characters. So, I’m able to lead the cast through those things and be able to depict a story in the way that it resonates with me from both a directorial and audience perspective, because I've kind of become the audience through this process,” Yeakley said.

Evie Slaughenhoup is a sophomore at Auburn with a BFA in Musical Theatre. She has been a part of AU Players since she began her time at Auburn. Now, she holds the lead role in AU Players’ Pride and Prejudice of Elizabeth Bennet.

Slaughenhoup was 8-years-old when she acted in her first show Aladdin. Her mom also grew up acting. With her encouragement, she gave it a try and has not looked back since.

Slaughenhoup explained the audition process and how she did not necessarily even audition for the lead role, but rather all the actors sent in audition videos and kept returning for callbacks.

“I was very open to just being involved in the department and the production. It wasn’t just specifically I wanted to be Elizabeth Bennet. I was very excited to just be doing this show because it is what I love,” Slaughenhoup said.

One of the things Slaughehoup is most excited about is for her younger sister, who is a big Pride and Prejudice fan, to see the production.

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“It’s nice to be able to do Pride and Prejudice for her because she loves it so much, and that was a big thing for me was to be able to put on Pride and Prejudice for her,” Slaughenhoup said.

She explained that most, if not all, of the cast has, at least by now, seen the movie, and some have even read the popular Jane Austen book to help with the production.

“If they haven’t, they’re doing an amazing job because they are just their characters through and through. They’re doing it so well,” Slaughenhoup said.

Slaughenhoup then shared about her favorite part of being on stage as an actress.

“I really love just being able to tell a story for people. It’s so much fun, and just diving into the character is awesome. I feel a lot like Elizabeth Bennet as a person. I feel like me and her are very similar,” Slaughenhoup said.

She explained how both she and her character, Elizabeth, tend to speak their minds sometimes too much, and they are both “unapologetically themselves,” Slaughenhoup said.

Slaughenhoup also said that her favorite scene is the party scene in Act Two, where so many of the different actors are on stage together at one time. This aspect is another one of the things she enjoys most about acting.

“It’s so much fun just to have fun on stage with your friends, too, is a big part of it for me,” Slaughenhoup said.

If anyone still needs convincing to attend AU Players’ production of Pride and Prejudice, Slaughenhoup knew just what to say.

“It’s a comedy, and who doesn’t love a comedy? We’re at a point in the semester where finals are about to start, and it’s a good break from studying if you want to go outside, be in the sun, and not be stuck in the RBD Library,” Slaughenhoup said.

Tickets can be bought at the event, but it is cheaper to buy them in advance by filling out the link and sending money via Venmo to @AU-Players with the description "Pride and Prejudice."

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