Life rarely offers us second chances, but now you have one if you have not yet seen Taproot Theatre's production of Persuasion. In fact, this musical adaptation of Jane Austen's novel by the same name is about second chances, and much more. It is at Taproot's Jewell Mainstage Theatre, in Seattle, through August 26, 2017. Thanks to positive audience response, it has been extended with extra performance times. Don't miss the opportunity.
|Cayman Ilika & Matthew Posner in Persuasion at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.|
|Matthew Posner, Sophia Franzella, Ryan Childers, Chelsea LeValley, Cayman Ilika & Randy Scholz in Persuasion at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.|
Anne Elliot would have been married, had she not rejected the love of her life, a member of the British navy, after being persuaded to end the match based on their class differences. Her status-conscious godmother, Lady Russell (Caitlin Frances) did most of the persuading. At the beginning of the musical, we learn this lost love has returned, eight years after being jilted. Now, known as Captain Wentworth (Matthew Posner), he returns a hero of the Napoleonic Wars. This was at a time in English society when changing views allowed for accomplishment, rather than merely inherited wealth, to be considered a path to full acceptance as a gentleman.
|Nick DeSantis, Cayman Ilika & Matthew Posner in Persuasion at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.|
The hope of having a second chance, and then the question of whether or not to make the most of that chance when it is offered, is a facet of human experience as relevant today as 200 years ago. Austen completed this novel, her last, in 1816, then died in 1817. It was published posthumously in 1818. She knew, first hand, about the barriers between the social classes and the rigid restrictions on women's choices. Born into a genteel but impoverished family, Austen's only hope of a better life was through marriage. Yet, she was not considered a suitable bride for the young man she loved, whose family persuaded him to marry for money instead.
|Caitlin Frances, Nick DeSantis & Matthew Posner in Persuasion at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.|
The novel's rather complicated plot has been simplified here, but some knowledge of that source would help in understanding who is being referred to and what is happening. Another difference is that, in the musical, the character of Anne Elliot is more impassioned about the rights of women. She leaves little doubt about her progressive feminist views, whereas in the novel, she seems to have less of a sense of victimization and more tolerance for the idea of maintaining social order, even at the expense of personal freedom. In both the book and musical, Anne upholds the ideal of a marriage in which partners are equal.
|Cayman Ilika, Sophia Franzella, Caitlin Frances, Chelsea LeValley & Kate Jaeger in Persuasion at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.|
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