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'Pride and Prejudice': A rocky love story

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Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice" is not only a love story, but a "revolutionary love story" for the time period, said Director Alex Goebel, who acted in the same play when he was a Cloquet High School student.

"It's about a woman who felt strongly enough about her own choices in a time when women were only meant to have one career — marriage," Goebel said. "Both Elizabeth and (author) Jane Austin are able to say 'no' to men who expected them to say 'yes.'"

This weekend's CHS production of "Pride and Prejudice" offers plenty of wit, misunderstanding and romantic love from all directions, as the story is centered around a family with five daughters — all of them old enough to marry. The Bennet sisters, including the strong-willed, witty and clever Elizabeth, have been advised by their mother that there is only one goal worth attaining in life: Marry rich!

When the handsome bachelor Mr. Bingley comes to town, their lives are turned upside down. But it is his best friend — the intolerable, proud, and loathsome Mr. Darcy — that Elizabeth can't stand. But each time these two encounter one another, sparks fly. It is a rocky road to love for this pair.

In his fourth year of directing the spring play at CHS, Goebel said he knew the students would be able to tackle the accent and mannerisms of the English gentility after three years of performing Shakespeare.

Plus, "Pride and Prejudice" has always been one of his favorite movies and books.

That's a good thing, because Goebel ended up writing this version of the play over about a four-month period.

"There were two main contenders (from existing versions of the play), but one was very long and we did the other one in high school and I really didn't like it," the 2010 CHS grad said. "So I figured I could do better."

Goebel's script is well-done, easy to follow and quite true to the original Jane Austin novel. The costumes are set in same period as Austin's novel. Cloquet rented many of the dresses from The College of St. Scholastica and the talented Mrs. Fox and friends sewed the others.

With one more dress rehearsal to go Wednesday, April 25, Goebel said the kids have created another wonderful show for local audiences.

"They're so great at elevating the language, making it understandable, and it's such a great story ... I knew they could bring it," he said.

Performances of "Pride and Prejudice" are set for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 26, and Saturday, April 28, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 29, in the Cloquet High School Auditorium; there is no Friday show. Tickets, $7 for adults and $5 for students, will be available for purchase starting an hour before the show each day.

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