The Urban Legend

The School Newspaper of Urban School of San Francisco

The Urban Legend

The School Newspaper of Urban School of San Francisco

The Urban Legend

Urban theater presents “Pride and Prejudice”

Behind the scenes of the fall production

Looking to have a night filled with joy, surprises, tears and laughs? Join Urban’s Advanced Theater class on November 7-11 to see their rendition of “Pride and Prejudice!”

The classic Jane Austen novel, “Pride and Prejudice,” was released in 1813 and has been made into 17 different TV series and movies. The story, set in the 1700s, centers on the familial, platonic and romantic dynamics in a wealthy, white, heteronormative, English society. 

Past renditions of “Pride and Prejudice” only portray a specific narrative that many people in the Urban community may not identify with.

Head of the Theater Department Maya Herbsman ‘13 and her students are working to put on a production that all community members can connect to in some way. “Getting to explore queerness and playing with some more gender fluidity… feels like a cool way for me to help my students sort of see how they might have lived during that time,” said Herbsman,I feel really excited about using our modern lens on this very restrictive, confined society.”

 “It’s a lot of fun and it’s a story about love in many different forms. Platonic, romantic, familial, all of it,” said Herbsman, “The inspiration to do ‘Pride and Prejudice’ came from the students, it’s important that [they] are excited.”

Although Herbsman has the final word, students are involved in the process of picking the Fall Production. Zia DiFrancesco ‘24, cast member and assistant director, said, “As seniors, we got an email [from Maya] first to say [she’s] considering ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ and we had a pretty long discussion with her.”  

When asked for their thoughts on putting on “Pride and Prejudice,” cast member Paris Cardenas ‘24 said, “[I am] so pumped… This production of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is unlike any interpretation that people have ever seen before, because we have that Urban twist on it. We’re adding things that have never been there before. It’s such a new and fun take.

In past years, the Theater Department has had to work with small casts to put on the Fall Production. However, this year, it is different. Herbsman said, “This is the biggest cast I’ve had for Fall Production since I’ve been here. Actually, it’s more than double what it was my first year.”

Students who have been in Urban productions before are familiar with working alongside smaller casts. DiFrancesco said, “I remember my first Fall Production. We had six people, which was very hard to do.” Whereas with this year’s cast of 15, she said, “I do like a bigger cast just because it’s a lot easier to make a play.”

The Urban Advanced Studies (UAS) Theater Production class is an art class that is required to be on stage in the production. Those working backstage have a separate class, Theater Tech, which runs during T1. These classes require a lot of time and effort from students. 

“Out of class… I’d say [we spend] an average of seven to nine hours a week for rehearsal. But it does get more than that,” said DiFrancesco.

Herbsman said, “We spend close to 100 hours outside of school throughout the term rehearsing.” When recalling her experience at Urban, Herbsman said, “There was much more of a culture at that time that everyone sort of went to see the play no matter what. For me, a lot of work right now is around building back up [that] culture.”

“I hope that the Urban community will enjoy coming along with us for this fairy tale,” said Herbsman.


Cast List:

Mrs. Bennet – Paris Cardenas

Mr. Bennet – Christopher Tawadrous

Uncle Gradiner – Lawson Smith

Lady Anne/Aunt Gardiner (but as an uncle) – Diego Vaznaugh-Sanchez

Charlotte Lucas – Minna Lezak

Jane Bennet – Zia DiFrancesco

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Bennet – Lucia Ferris 

Mary Bennet – Asher Albers

Catherine (Kitty) Bennet – Zoya Sarangan

Lydia Bennet – Daphne Gilman

Charles Bingley – Aidan Somaini

Caroline Bingley/Lady Catherine – Daisy Meritt

Mr. Collins/Mrs. Reynolds – Eliot Solomon

Wickham/Georgiana – Blue Kennedy

Darcy (as a woman) – Viva Wertz

About the Contributor
Aida Cooney
Aida Cooney, Staff Writer