On Pride and Prejudice
Elizabeth...On the Roof
The first time I read Pride and Prejudice was during my freshman year of high school, right around the same time friends and I were auditioning for the school production of Roof. I tried out for the musical because that’s what I was into at the time. We were the musical-chick clique that performed in the school shows, the Madrigal group and the “beauty shop” octet. In our spare time, we taught ourselves the lyrics of every Broadway musical and took acting and dance lessons on the weekends.
I would have auditioned for any show the school was doing, but I felt a particular affinity for this production. Though the story took place in turn-of-the-century Russia, it was about my people–Jews. It was about an issue I could understand–grappling with one’s identity during a time of change. Not only were our teen lives changing, but the world around us was, too. I was the fourteen-year-old daughter of a divorced, new age secretary and hippie musician who came of age in Manhattan in a decade when greed was good and preppies aspired to become yuppies.
I was less than thrilled to read Pride and Prejudice, but did because it was assigned. I wondered how I would relate to the story of nineteenth-century Brits in a “comedy of manners.” Manners weren’t the sort of thing that interested any teen, much less me, whose father said they were “bullshit rules prescribed by an oppressive establishment.” My mother felt that as long as everyone’s …