Local Paragons VI: Twin City Stage (Pride and Prejudice)

Twin City Stage, formerly known as the Little Theatre of Winston Salem, is the longest running professional theatre in the triad. It was founded in 1935 and puts on a number of quality productions per year. These productions are affordable, well produced, and worth the time you will invest to see them. Winston Salem is well known for being the center for arts and culture in the triad, and Twin City Stage lives up to that reputation.

Three of the six in attendance. Unfortunately, the kind lady who took the photo got more thumb than people. This was all I could salvage

Twin City Stage: <3 <3 <3 <3                     Pride and Prejudice: <3 <3 <3 <3

Lucy settled into the plush red seat. She crossed on leg over the other, paused, shifted, then crossed the other leg so she was leaning away from the unfamiliar eighty year old many hacking into a handkerchief on her right.

“So he took you to church on your first date?”

Lucy crossed her arms over her chest, then uncrossed them and flipped through the program. She didn’t look at him as she spoke.

“Not to church, Chris. Geeze, you make it sound like he’s some kind of monk or something,” her words were as stiff and straight as her back. “It was the St. Phillip’s learning center at Old Salem. We went inside the church there and read some of the stories of—“

“Yeah, you already told me all that. But seriously Luce the guy sound kind of kookie,” he twirled his finger around his ear like a third grader.  ucy shut the program and stared intently at the front cover, studying the white lettering “Twin City Stage Presents” as if it were written in French or Portuguese.

“I don’t think so, Chris. He was actually pretty authentic. I could tell he really believe in this kind of…”


“Forget it,” Lucy opened the booklet again and started reading. “I don’t know why I bother. So what do you think? Is it more natural to have fruit or flowers growing out of the head?” She leaned the program toward him for inspection. Chris looked over the Austen quote and laughed. He shook his head.

“I think you’re going to turn into a fruitcake if you don’t start growing some sense soon.”

Lucy shut the program again, folded it in half and smacked him across the arm. Twice.

“You two are an awfully sweet couple,” the man next to her wheezed as she settled the program back into her lap. “Why I remember when my Genevieve and I used to tease each other just like that. Come to think of it, she still has to knock me upside the skull when I need some sense thumped into me. Don’t give up on your young fellow there. We’re all just a bunch of numskulls without pretty little things to knock sense into us.”

Lucy’s eyes widened and she glanced at Chris to see if he’d heard. He was busy studying his phone.

“Oh no,” Lucy managed when the man quit coughing again. “We’re not, actually, I mean, we’re just good friends but I—“

“Friends?” The man’s white bushy eyebrows rose. “That’s some kind of friend to take you to Pride and Prejudice on Valentine’s weekend?”

Lucy didn’t miss the emphasis on the word friend.

“I know,” she could feel the heat in her cheeks. “He’s suffering though it because he knows how much I love the play and my sister had to cancel because one of her kids has the flu and it’s my birthday you see,” Lucy trailed off unsure why she felt the need to justify herself to this stranger. “Anyway we’re just—“

“Friends, yes, so you’ve said,” the man nodded his head, but the twinkle in his eye told Lucy he didn’t believe her. She opened her moth to speak again but he beat her to it. “You know this has been my wife’s favorite book since she was a teenager. She told me once that before it was published, Austen called it First Impressions. Perhaps there are some lessons to be learned there for you, my dear?”

The lights blinked on and off indicating the performance was getting ready to start. The man leaned away and took his wife’s hand.

Lucy too shifted in her seat, but she was, if possible, less comfortable than before. She fidgeted with the program as the Twin City Stage prepared to perform Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as adapted by Jon Jory.

“That’s total crap!” Chris said when the lights came up an hour and a half later at intermission.

“What?” Lucy looked at him, startled. “I thought they were doing an excellent job—especially Mr. Bennet. Michael Burke’s timing has been almost perfect in delivering lines to achieve a kind of Austenian dramatic humor that really captures the essence of the time period. And Johanna Beach makes an excellent Elizabeth Bennet. Her elocution is nearly perfect and she has a lot of talent for one so—“

“Not the acting,” Chris wove his hands in and out of the air. “The story—how did she not know he was into her?”

“How did who not know?”

“Elizabeth. It’s so obvious.”

Lucy shrugged. “Only if you’re completely self-absorbed.”

“What do you mean?” he turned on her.

“If you’re completely focused on yourself like Miss Bingley—where your goal is to make yourself more attractive then you’ll see yourself as attractive to everyone even if you’re not. If that’s not your primary objective,” she shrugged again. “And you’ve even been scorned and ignored by that person or type of person, even ‘obvious’ attraction becomes easily explained as something else in your mind.”

Chris considered this a minute. “I guess I see your point. I still think she should have seen it coming though. Guys aren’t that hard to figure out.”

“More so than you think,” Lucy murmured.

The coughing beside Lucy seemed particularly loud at that moment, but Lucy ignored it.

“Other than Elizabeth’s, well prejudice against Darcy, are you finding the story at least  a little interesting? Not regretting coming are you?”

“It’s not bad.” Chris settled back against the red cushion. “I enjoy hanging out with you anyway.

“The Twin City Stage does a lot of really great productions.” Lucy felt like she was babbling, but she was trying to put the image of the twinkle in the old man’s eye out of her mind. “I saw they are doing Mary Poppins next month.”

“It’s like they know you,” Chris laughed. “Does Katie know?”

Lucy laughed. “I have to check my schedule. It would be a fun one to go see with her if we could work it out. Then they’re doing Anne of Green Gables in May.”

“They’re still auditioning for that one,” Chris said.

“Somehow I don’t think I quite have the look they’re going for,” she opened the booklet again and laughed as she pointed out the little red headed Canadian girl.

“Oh who knows? Maybe you’ll have so much talent they’ll do a write in role for a beautiful Asian woman?”

The lights blinked on and off and the din increased as people returned to their seats and then quieted, giving Lucy reprieve from having to respond as the play resumed for its final hour of performance.

When the lights came up again, Lucy’s smile filled her face.

“How many stars?” Chris asked.

“Four,” she said. “I’d give it five, but it dragged a tiny bit in a couple of places—especially when it came to the Wickham plotline. I don’t know if it was the actor or the way it was adapted, but that should have been much more exciting and it fell a little flat. The adaptation cut out Georgiana altogether. That made me sad. Overall though, it was a wonderful performance.”

“Well, you’re practically glowing, so the fifth star isn’t lost,” he said as they made their way through the crushing crowd to the lobby. “You just hijacked it, I guess.” People were streaming past them on their way to the exit, but Chris steered them to the side wall, where they waited for the lobby to clear out.

“Thanks for coming with me,” Lucy turned toward him. “It really meant a lot to me.”

Chris held her gaze, reaching down to push her hair from her face. He rested his hand on her shoulder.

“Of course,” his voice was lower than usual. “Happy Birthday, Lucy.”

She could feel the warmth in his hand, almost as if it was spreading and increasing as it slid from her shoulder to her upper arm. For a moment, she felt off balance. She thought his head was coming closer to her’s, leaning down, but before she could decide if what was about to happen was really about to happen her phone—still clutched in her hand from having turned it back on after the show—buzzed and then rang. Loudly.

Lucy jumped.

Chris’s hand fell to his side and he leaned up against the wall.

“It’s Saul,” she said, looking at the number. She glanced at Chris, who was looking up at the ceiling, then she looked back at the phone when he didn’t say anything. Lucy sighed, then hit accept. “Hey Saul,” she said, walking way, leaving Chris with his arms crossed over his chest, stoically staring at the exit.

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