It's always easier to fix up problems in someone else's life, isn't it. The humour, pain, flirting, and romance that can come from one playing matchmaker is played out in Jane Austen's beloved story Emma.
The School of Arts Media and Culture at Trinity Western University has decided on a trip back to 1814 for its latest production, Emma.
For Emma Woodhouse, she's jolly good at meddling in the romantic lives of others. Giddy from the success of one match, she's not about to stop, despite the warnings of longtime family friend Mr. Knightley.
So she sets her sights on Harriet Smith, a young woman of moderate social standing in a society that valued one's place in the social order more than pretty much anything else.
Emma's matchmaking misfires, resulting on both comic and tragic effects.
Performances run March 12-23 at 7: 30 p.m. with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m.
Daniele Neve performs as Emma, a bright and beautiful young woman whose heart is in the right place but whose meddling complicates the lives of those around her.
Brandon Bate has the role of the enigmatic Mr. Knightley, who tries to rein in Emma's overstepping.
Emma's hapless friend Harriet is portrayed by Shelby Wyminga.
Two of the more comic roles are by Langley residents.
Jane Townsend is in the role of the talkative spinster Miss Bates and said the material remains relevant even today.
"I think Jane Austen's Emma definitely still holds up today.
Even though it was written during the 1800s, human nature hasn't changed," said Townsend. "People are still quite silly and mostly have no idea what they are doing, especially regarding love. Everyone is still looking for love and yet we, like Emma, still don't really know what we want or how to find it. I think people still love this story because of how well they can relate to the characters in Emma, especially Emma herself."
The second-year theatre major relishes the chance to get a reaction from the audience.
"There is something wonderful about making people laugh, and it is just a whole lot of fun to play comedic characters," Townsend explained. "I love to laugh and have fun and characters like Miss Bates allow me to do that. Comedic characters give me the freedom to just go for it and be silly and sometimes that is just something I need. I think we all need to laugh and be silly once in a while."
Emma's hypochondriac father, Henry Woodhouse, is played by fourth year art student Mark Fleming. He was seen on stage in a title role in the school's production of Romeo + Juliet.
"My character in the show, Mr. Woodhouse, Emma's father, has been one of my few comedic roles and I've had an absolute blast with it. That being said, I have always felt more in my niche with a serious, intense role, only ever comedic in his cynicism. But it's always an asset to bring humour to any character," Fleming said.
Langley's Aaron Caleb directs the show. Despite the material being set in 1814, the themes still resonate.
"Directing a show about a matchmaker in these days of eHarmony and match.com is really fascinating," said Caleb. "Whatever the century, we all look for love and the events and insights of this story remain startlingly fresh. When you add in Jane Austen's vivid, charming characters, the result is delight from start to finish."
Even in this day and age where many people find romance online, Emma has a lot to offer the lovelorn.
HOW TO WIN?
A pair of tickets to Emma
Two lucky readers will each win a pair of tickets. How do you win?
. Visit the Langley Advance website at: www.langleyadvance.com, find "More Ways to Connect," and click on "send us your letters, photos, video."
. Fill in your name, email, and number.
. Then write a short note explaining why you want to attend this show. Please note your community, and include the keyword "Emma" at the top of the note. Preference is given to Langley residents.
Entries must be received prior to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, and winners will be notified. Note: submitted comments could be used in future editions of the newspaper. No staff or family of the Langley Advance or Glacier are eligible. This contest is restricted to online participants, 19 years or older only.
"I think it depends on what you think of as easy," Fleming said.
"Love has always come easier to some and harder to the majority, and in the case of Emma, it could be sitting right under your nose without you realising. As for technology making it simpler, maybe in the way it connects one to many people, but that's not necessarily a good thing.
Having been a matchmaker, and it not going too well, I'd say love is staying a tricky business, technology upgrades or not."