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Lauren Holfeuer: Pride And Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet

March 22, 2013

When Pride And Prejudice closes this weekend, the occasion will be marked by the customary mixed emotions for cast members, who will exchange their farewells through tears and laughter. “It’s that final chapter coming to an end,” says Lauren Holfeuer. “Some shows are a little harder to say good-bye to than others, and this is one of those.”

There is more to this than the curtain coming down on a successful production. For 10 young performers, including Holfeuer, who plays the role of Elizabeth Bennet, it will put the wraps on a project that actually goes backLauren Holfeuer further than merely three weeks of rehearsal and a two-week run on the Main Stage. For them, this started last summer with the Globe Conservatory Actor Training Program.

“It’s the culmination of a year’s work and it’s been a wonderful experience,” Holfeuer says. “There is such an encouraging environment at the Globe, such a positive atmosphere. And everyone here is so skilled.”

The announcement that Pride And Prejudice had been selected for the Conservatory students came from artistic director Ruth Smillie last spring. The auditions themselves were conducted in mid-summer. “I was hoping I’d get the role that I got,” Holfeuer says. “I had my fingers crossed the whole time. I was sweating bullets up until the moment I found out.”

Describing her role as difficult, “absolutely, but in the best sense of being difficult, by which I mean challenging,” she goes on to explain that what she felt wasn’t pressure as much as it was a sense of responsibility “not only for me but for everyone to take care of the story through their own characters. I never felt I was on my own. This is an ensemble piece. Everyone’s part is important.”

Since opening night, the show has sustained its momentum and indeed grown even more polished. “Every time we do it, it’s like I’ve never seen it before, it’s that fresh,” Holfeuer says. “The further we go into it, the richer, the deeper it has become. It’s a play, it’s not a movie. It’s never ‘finished.’ Every audience is different and therefore every night it’s a different show.”

After Pride And Prejudice closes, Holfeuer will return to Saskatoon and join fellow cast member Nathan Howe, who plays Mr. Darcy, in preparation for the national Fringe Festival tour this summer. Howe has written a musical called Matchstick as the inaugural vehicle for his independent company, Theatre Howl.

Matchstick will receive its world premiere in Saskatoon, and then, beginning in June, it goes on the road to Ottawa, Regina, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver, for a total of close to 50 performances. “Once it’s on its feet, we might as well keep it going,” Holfeuer says.

The story concerns a woman who seeks to escape from a country she finds undesirable, and is presented with the opportunity to do exactly that when she meets and falls in love with a foreign man. Howe has composed eight songs for the 90-minute production, and between them, Howe and Holfeuer will play acoustic guitar, ukulele, harmonica, and drums.

A graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, Holfeuer has been single-minded about a career in the theatre for as long as she can remember. “I was committed,” she says. “I jumped in with both feet. I thought, if I don’t like it, I’ll stop doing it. It feels like there is no other option, there is no Plan B.”

As a teenager, Holfeuer attended Evan Hardy Collegiate, which takes pride in its drama and music programs, and justifiably so. Every school year includes productions of a musical and a play. Interestingly, when she was in Grade 12, the play happened to be Pride And Prejudice, albeit a different adaptation, and she happened to land the role of Elizabeth Bennet. “I remember it well,” she says with a laugh. “I missed a month of rehearsals with mono!”

Lauren Holfeuer has certainly made the most of her second chance.

Pride and Prejudice runs from March 6 – 24, 2013. Visit the Globe Theatre website for more details, cast information, and to purchase tickets.

Nick Miliokas is a freelance writer and editor based in Regina. You can reach him by email at rozenstern@rocketmail.com.

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