Elizabeth tells her sister Jane all about what Wickham told her, and how Darcy basically ruined his life.
Jane puts on her rose-colored glasses and closely examines the situation--
--Darcy couldn't possibly be so horrid as Wickham claims, who could do such a thing? To disobey your fathers’ dying wish??
--But that would mean Wickham is lying, and how could Wickham do such a thing? To make up such a horrid story, and potentially ostracize Darcy and all connected to him (Oh no! Bingley!)??
There must be some mistake.
Their musings are interrupted by Bingley himself, who invites everyone to the Netherfield Ball.
Jane is all, YES!! More time with hunka hunka burnin’ love Bingley!
Liz is all, YES!! More time with hunka hunka burnin’ love Wickham!
Lydia is all, ME TOO!
Kitty is all, ME THREE!
Mr. Collins is all, I will dance with Elizabeth for the first two dances!
Liz is all, Shit.
The Netherfield Ball. A rap.
Here's the story of a lady by the name of Lizzie,
She really liked this fella, he made her kinda dizzy.
She was so excited, to get to the ball,
And dance with the man, that she liked to call...
Wickham was his name, he had a great head o’ hair,
But when Lizzie arrived, Mr. Wickham wasn't there!
Wickham wasn't there…
Dazed and confused, she looked all around,
But her Mr. Right just couldn't be found.
When what to her wondering eyes should appear
But--Oh, no that's Collins, we don't want him here.
But Collins was persistent--we gotta give him that,
So she danced with him--ratta tat tat…
Nope mr. Collins, it's to the left, to the left Mr. Collins, your left, mr. Collins, now you're stepping on my toes, okay and this dance is over...
Moving right along...
Lizzie ditched Collins and headed to the bar
She ordered a drink but didn't get very far
When a voice started speaking, it surely wasn't Pharsi,
She turned around and saw that it was Darcy--
Will you dance with me? Is what the voice said
And Lizzie, she musta been outta her head!
She stuttered she faltered, ,blood suga was low
She said, Alright, I'll give it a go!
Lizzie couldn't believe what she'd just done,
Dancing with Darcy just couldn't be fun
He was mean, he was proud, a horrible dude
Stuck up, arrogant, and just plain rude
They started the dance, no one was talkin’
So Liz thought she'd go ahead and mock mock mock him
It's your turn to talk, she said with a grin
And Darcy asked what would give him a win?
And that's when Lizzie got a wicked idea
She brought up Wickham and the mil-i-tia
Militia militia I meant to say militia
Darcy went red and he got super mad
But he held his temper, said Wickham was bad
Lizzie disagreed, she hated him now,
When the dance was over, she left with a bow
And here comes Caroline to tell us more,
And for once she's not behavin like a whore
Wickham isn't really such a great man
Says Caroline to Wickham’s number one fan
But Lizzie she ignores her, and turns away,
Only to find that it's Embarrassment Day!
Lydia’s drinking, Kitty is too,
Mom is gabbin’, what else is new?
Mary is singin at the top of her lungs
And Collins he's actin like a big pile o dung
Poor Lizzie is caught, what can she do?
But try to pretend that her relations are few
On it went, to the end of the night
When at last, sweet relief, the end was in sight
But of course Mama Bennet, she had to postpone
So dear sweet Jane could have a husband of her own.
But finally, finally, the carriage was sent
And the Bennet's climbed in, they were homeward bent
And that's the end of my story y’all
This was the story of the Netherfield Ball.
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That Feeling When You Meet A Guy You Know You Shouldn't Like But You Do Anyway And He Tells You The Story Of His Life And You're Like, "Okay, when are we getting married??!!"
We've met (and we're about to meet) LOTS of new people...so I updated our chart!
Mr. Bennet is particularly loving the absurdity that is Mr. Collins. He wonders if he can stoke the fire of Collins' ridiculousness by mentioning a lady that seems to come up a lot with him--Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
COLLINS: "Ah yes! My patroness* Lady Catherine is quite the finest specimen of the female sex that I have ever encountered, in fact, just the other day I performed two of my sermons for her at her MAGNIFICENT estate, Rosings Park, and she approved of no less than BOTH of them, well, I was FLOORED, I can tell you, simply FLOORED that a Lady of HER esteem would love MY sermons, and if that wasn't enough, she then asked me to dine with her, not once but TWICE she has done me this honor, I tell you I was so pleased the first time I could have fainted, I did, in fact, faint, I believe, I have very little memory of it, but I would not be surprised, for ANYONE would certainly faint in the presence of SUCH a woman, OH and I almost forgot, she did in fact come to visit me, SHE came to visit ME, in my own humble parsonage, to think! that the walls of MY parsonage still glow with the air that SHE breathed upon them, certainly I am the luckiest man alive, for it was at that time that she also was the one to recommend I MARRY, and so of course I took her advice at once, which is *wink* why I am here, and I must say, you ladies DO remind me so of Ms. Anne de Bourgh, Lady Catherine de Bourgh's daughter, a SICKLY thing unfortunately, but TREMENDOUSLY beautiful of course, born to be a duchess, it is a SHAME that the British Court has been DEPRIVED of its BRIGHTEST ornament because of her illness, oh YES, it is, and I said this very thing to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, for I am QUITE talented at delivering little compliments to the ladies, as you ladies will no doubt soon see. *wink*"
And that, my friends, is Mr. Collins.
Elizabeth and Mr. Bennet spend the rest of the evening fueling the flames of Mr. Collins' absurdity, and exchanging sly smiles each time he is about to go on yet another rant.
*HISTORICAL INTERLUDE: Persons of great wealth and status, like Lady Catherine, had the right to appoint someone to clerical positions. In this case, Lady Catherine has appointed Mr. Collins as the rector (priest) of the parish on her estate....a decision that she almost certainly regrets now....So, Mr. Collins has plenty of good reasons to like (or obsess over, apparently) Lady Catherine.
The next morning* Mr. Collins wastes no time in telling Mrs. Bennet that his heart has settled on Jane Bennet, and would it be okay if I marry her pretty please? Mrs. Bennet tells him Jane is about to be engaged (to Bingley) and that maybe Elizabeth would make a suitable second-choice?
Mr. Collins checks out Elizabeth. "Yeah, I mean, she's a hot babe too. I'll go with her."
So when the Bennet girls announce that they're walking to Meryton, Mr. Collins quickly snuggles up next to Liz. Liz is (not) delighted.
The torture of Collins' presence is soon alleviated by the entrance of an absolutely beautiful young man, hubba hubba, holy fishsticks, who is that piece of gorgeousness??!!
The sun sparkled behind his beautiful blonde head, as if drawing energy from his radiant figure. The wind blew back his golden locks and he flashed his baby blues at the Bennet girls, who melted on the spot. He was clearly in the militia, and no one wore those tight trousers better than he. Those perfect lips parted, he was just about to speak, when---
"HELLOOO, ladies!" The arrival of Bingley and Darcy shakes everyone out of the dream. Leave it to the politeness of Bingley to ruin a perfectly good fantasy. Darcy is firmly deciding to NOT oggle at Elizabeth when he sees Wickham.
Wickham looks at Darcy. Darcy looks at Wickham. One turns white. The other red.
And Darcy speeds off on his horse.
"Um, so, I guess I'll see you next time--" says Bingley, as he races to catch up with his friend.
Elizabeth is all, WTF JUST HAPPENED!!!??
The Bennet party plus Wickham continue on to Mrs. Phillips' house, who is Mrs. Bennet's sister. They dine and agree to meet again the next day, making sure to invite the charming Mr. Wickham as well.
Mr. Collins declares that, except for Lady Catherine and her daughter, of course, he has never met with a more amiable, wonderful, lovely, incredible woman than Mrs. Phillips in the whole of his existence forever in the history of the universe.
But come on, Jane! What we really want to hear about is WHAT JUST HAPPENED WITH DARCY AND WICKHAM???!!!!
*HISTORICAL INTERLUDE: It was common for folks to visit for long periods of time, since it took so long to get there in the first place. Mr. Collins stays with the Bennets for two weeks, which was actually considered a "short" visit at that time....although it may be a long visit when it's someone like Mr. Collins...
Alright so the Bennet girls and Collins head back to the Phillips' the next day, they chat, blah, blah, blah, Collins is overexpressive as usual, and Wickham is also there, and he just so happens to sit next to Elizabeth while the rest of the group plays cards.
Elizabeth is trying to figure out a way to subtly get Wickham to talk about Darcy when he asks her--How long as Darcy been at Netherfield?
About a month, says Liz. Wickham says he's known Darcy since he was a baby.
Rrreeeaaallly???? says Liz
Yeah, I'm sure that's surprising given how we greeted each other yesterday, says Wickham.
Naaah, says Liz, I hadn't even thought about it.
"Well--"(and here is the question that Liz will look back on later and realize her mistake)--"do you know Mr. Darcy?" "As much as I ever need to," Liz says.
And Wickham's story begins. It's a long winded thing, beautifully constructed, but here's what you need to know:
Basically, Chapter 16 sets up the rest of the story.
On the way home from the Phillips' house, Elizabeth can't think about anything except Wickham:
She likes Wickham more than ever. Poor man! Can you imagine thinking that your whole life is set up for you, paid for, ready to go, and then to have it completely taken away from you, so that you are forced to join the militia to earn something?
She hates Darcy more than ever. HORRID man. How could you possibly go against your father's dying wishes and literally take EVERYTHING away from a young man you considered your best friend in youth???
She pities Caroline more than ever. She really doesn't have a blessed chance with Darcy. Ha, ha, ha.
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They Call Me Collins...Mr. Collins...(killer of ladies extraordinarily...I'm brief with words but not brief in other places...if you comprehend me...babe)
Despite the medical advancements of Jane Austen's day ("Ah ha! I've got it! Leeches will cure EVERYTHING!"), Jane recovers. No matter, Bingley is instantly at her heels: "Blanket? Tea? Water? Too hot? Too cold? Toast? Tums? Leeches? Advil? Morphine? Whatchu want? I'll get it!!!!!"
Caroline decides to impress Mr. Darcy by reading a book! It may have gone better if she had been holding the book right-side-up. Whatever, she ditches the book and falls on back on the thing that is sure to get Darcy's heart: her boobs.
She minces about the room. Mince, mince, mince. Chest high! No good. Damn, what IS Darcy reading, pornography? And then she has it. A sure-fire way of getting Darcy to look at her.
She invites Elizabeth to walk with her.
Sure enough, Darcy's eyes come off the page. "Join us, Mr. Darcy," coos Caroline. Mince, mince, mince. "No thanks, I'm good. Besides, you're either trying to share girly secrets or show off your boobs. If the first, I'd be in the way, and if the second, I can admire them better from here."
Scandalous! Elizabeth wants to tease Mr. Darcy. It's impossible to tease Mr. Darcy, says Caroline, he has no faults.
Darcy argues that he does have faults, he just doesn't make mistakes when it comes to understanding people. "My good opinion once lost, is lost forever." He says everyone has some defect or other.
Elizabeth says "Yes! And yours is to hate everybody."
Darcy says, "And yours is to willfully misunderstand them."
Caroline thinks, Damn, why is that every attempt I make to seduce Darcy ends up heating things up between him and Liz????
Elizabeth and Jane write to their Mum to ask for the carriage to take them home. Like any rational mother, she instantly sends them the carriage and makes their beds ready for their arrival....right?
Of course not! They must stay until Tuesday at least, to finish out the week at Netherfield!
Bingley is all STAY, I LOVE YOU!
Darcy is all GO, I MIGHT LOVE YOU!
Caroline is all GO, HE MIGHT LOVE YOU!
So Liz and Jane ask to borrow Bingley's coach, and they go home, much to the dismay of Mrs. Bennet.
Allow me to introduce the wonder that is Mr. Collins.
Mr. Collins is Mr. Bennet's cousin and closest male relative. The Longbourne estate is entailed to Mr. Collins, meaning that when Mr. Bennet dies, the whole of it will go to Mr. Collins.
Having never met the Bennets before (due to a past disagreement between Collins' father and Mr. Bennet), Collins decides it's time to visit the Bennet family, and choose a wife from among the Bennet daughters...like you do, when you meet someone for the first time...
Mrs. Bennet couldn't be happier.
Oh, did I mention that he's a priest? Yup. He's a priest. But it's the Church of England guys, remember who started that craziness? Henry VIII. See Eddie Izzard for some context.
Collins arrives and they sit in the living room and chat. The fact that the room and everything in it could one day belong to the bizarre stranger sitting in the armchair hovers over everything. Mrs. Bennet delicately brings up the elephant in the room--
"THE ENTAIL, oh, it's such an odd thing, isn't it? All my girls will be DESTITUTE, POOR, KICKED TO THE STREETS, should Mr. Bennet die anytime soon, what horror, what sorrow, oh, if only the receiver of this entail would marry one of my daughters and save us from destitution!"
"Not to worry, my dear Mrs. Bennet," assures the austere Mr. Collins, "I've come to admire your daughters...."
(he proceeds to stare down each of the Bennet girls with a look which he believes to be sexy and alluring, but is in fact, phenomenally creepy and weird)
"...Right now I won't say any more, but later--"
And Mr. Collins is cut off by a summons to dinner.
NEXT WEEK: Mr. Collins Kills Ladies and Mr. Wickham is a Lady-Killer, and we find out Mr. Darcy's secret!
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It's about to be an all-out battle, guys....repressed British-style.
Caroline wants Darcy.
Bingley wants Jane.
Darcy doesn't want to want Elizabeth, but let's be real, he does.
Elizabeth wants to finish writing her fan fiction Game of Thrones....and possibly figure out why Darcy keeps staring at her all the time.
Darcy writes a letter. Elizabeth does needlework. Caroline throws her line out to her prey and waits for a tug.
CAROLINE: You write fast, Mr. Darcy!
You probably write so many letters!
Tell your sister I want to see her!
Oh! Your pen broke! Let me fix it! I'm actually good at that!
(HISTORICAL INTERLUDE: In those days it was a quill, guys, but they still called it a pen, apparently. Every so often you'd have to sharpen it with a knife)
You write so evenly!
Tell your sister I think it's awesome she plays harp and her designs for a table are great and I just think she's so great because everything is great and HELLO I AM ACTUALLY IN THIS ROOM EXISTING PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO ME PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!
Darcy coughs. Did you say something?
Then Darcy, Bingley and Elizabeth begin a lengthy argument about letter-writing and whether people should be persuaded by their friends' advice (foreshadowing!) and so forth, whilst Caroline plasters a beautiful British smile on her face and shoves that irritation right back down to where it came from.
During a lull in the conversation Darcy asks Caroline for music. She practically sprints to the piano and begins to play.
And Darcy makes his move.
"Doesn't this music make you want to dance a reel*?"
Elizabeth is silent.
Darcy repeats the question.
"Yup, I heard you Darcy, but I know you just want me to say 'yes' so you can frown on my choice of dances*, so nope, I don't want to dance a reel. Despise me if you dare."
"I don't dare."
Darcy drops the mic. And Elizabeth is all, What the...?
* Alright, so I just learned what a reel is and what this whole conversation is about, so I thought I'd share it with you. A reel is a lively dance that's considered to be low social status. It's also the dance that Darcy saw Elizabeth do at the Meryton Assembly, where he said, "She is tolerable, but not handsome to tempt me," which started Elizabeth's disgust with him in the first place. So when Darcy asks Liz to dance a reel, Darcy thinks he's scoring brownie points by offering to do a dance Liz is familiar and comfortable with, while Liz thinks he's trying to find a reason poke fun at her, and her low-brow upbringing.
Moral of the story? Stay away from the reel, men. There's just no way it's going to work out for you.
And Caroline? Well, having just fueled the fire of Darcy and Elizabeth's sexual tension, she gets Liz out of the room and goes back to reminding Darcy of how humiliating the Bennet family is.
Next week: More sexual tension! More repression! More tea!
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We interrupt your Planet Netherfield program to bring you this awkward, poorly-timed infomercial.
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“OH DEAR!!!!! How terribly ILL my Jane is, oh nooooooo, I think she’s just gonna have to stay longer, oh nooooo, more time for you, Mr. Bingley, to fall in love--ahem--get to know, my dear Jane. WHAT A SHAAAAAME.”
3. We guarantee that anyone within ear-shot will feel so awkward they'll immediately want to disassociate themselves from her, or your money back!
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We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
A few nights ago we invited our cast of 13 and our designers/crew of 9 to our itty bitty apartment in order to read the script, aloud, all together, for the first time. I was reminded of when I invited about 10 actor friends of mine over several months ago to read the script, and I thought cramming in 10 people would be hard.
So 20 should be a piece of cake!
Remarkably, armed with food, warmth, massive amounts of art supplies and every available surface in the house, we made it into an absolutely lovely evening.
We began with the paperwork, contracts, waivers, all that good stuff, and quickly moved into designer presentations. Despite some of our designers being unavailable (it's what happens when you try to schedule a meeting with 20 people), we had presentations from all of them, giving everyone a better sense of the world we'll be creating with the play.
We took a short break and ate some brownies.
Before reading, Jordan and I taught everyone how to paint an enso. It was lovely to see such interest in the core philosophy of our company. Enso's abounded and provided a new sense of presence in the room.
And then we dove into the script! With three missing actors, our brave ASMs stepped up and filled in for the necessary roles (with brilliance, I might add). So many beautiful moments happened that night. I think my favorite ones were when a cast member read a line completely differently from what I had in my head and an entirely new backstory/insight into that character erupted in front of me. They were adding depth to the piece that I didn't even know was there!
Following the read-through, we ate more brownies and pulled out the art supplies. I put out a large foam poster, magazines, markers, glue, post its, etc, and gave instructions to fill the poster with images we thought represented the world of the play, as we currently understand it. Some really exciting images appeared. We will continue to add to it once we begin rehearsals. You'll have to see the show to see the final collage... :)
All in all, a promising start to the process. I wish rehearsals were starting next week!
You can see the faces of our cast & crew here.
If you'd like to know where we want Enso to go in the next five years, go here or here.
If you'd like to see the first update of #enso4you, go here.
As it so happens, the same weekend our cast list went out, we also solidified our design ensemble. Our designers are also a wide range of ages and backgrounds, and we are officially international! One or our two sound designers will be doing her work from South Korea, the other from Southern Oregon, and our Choreographer is flying in from California!
The web grows.
Now, we jump into the good stuff. Here's what we have on our to-do list:
1. Discuss music for dance sequences with Logan & Cinthia (our sound designers)
2. Ask Julie (our choreographer) to create outline for Netherfield dance scene
3. Ask Kensie (our costume designer) to share her sketches of costumes
4. Ask Kelly (our lighting designer) to share her inspiration images of lighting
5. Meet with Michael (our set designer) to discuss his presentation of set ideas at first table-read
6. Write out the order of events for our first table-read (Next Wednesday!)
7. Figure out how to fit 20 people in our living room for table-read.
There's a lot more but I won't fill your head with all my mumbo-jumbo (just some) :).
On top of all this stuff for Pride & Prejudice, Jordan and I have been making some headway on what our next project(s) will be!
Here's a hint: Our next show involves 4 actors, a super cut-up script, and a rose...
On the day we remind ourselves to #spreadthelove (ie, Valentines Day), ye shall check your email inbox and then ye shall be in-the-know. And we will bring some love to ye! Here, here! Check it out!
CREATIONS? WHAT CREATIONS?
Two big things happening at the moment:
1. I continue to paraphrase "Pride & Prejudice" (and I'm probably making Jane turn in her grave...sorry Jane!). Check out the latest chapter, released TODAY: "Chapter 8: Planet Netherfield (narrated by David Attenborough)"
2. #enso4you began January 1st, 2016 and continues to fulfill and frustrate me. For anyone that isn't clued-in, #enso4you is my journey to create an enso-a-day for the people, places and things that inspire me creatively. My first update has been posted! Check it out!
3. And finally, a new creation project will be starting up soon, called Darcy Dub!! Can't say too much more on that yet, but I promise hilarity, Colin Firth and lip-dubbing (No Colin Firth was actually used or harmed in the making of Darcy Dub).
Thank you, as always, for everyone's continued support! We got good stuff in the making.
Now back to work.
P.S. You can see the cast & design team here: www.ensotheatre.com/shows. Yay!