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Triangle Downtowner Magazine

Swipe right on Emma any night

Dec 05, 2022 01:23PM ● By Lamarr Fowlkes

Award-winning playwright Kate Hamill presented an original adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, Emma, at PlayMakers Repertory Company. Emma features the titular character of Emma Woodhouse (portrayed by Jamie Ann Romero), a high-society self-appointed matchmaker who justifies her meddling as remaining active lest she succumbs to mischief. Emma’s biased machinations in trying to pair her unassuming protégé Harriet Smith (portrayed by Kimberly Chatterjee) with a suitable partner or reputable status, finds her own world unended through her dismissiveness of would-be pursuer Mr. Elton (portrayed by Adam Valentine), flirtations with potential suitor Frank Churchill (portrayed by Jamar Jones) and quarrels with childhood rival George Knightley (portrayed by Eric Bryant). Emma’s prejudiced societal circle includes nemesis Jane Fairfax (portrayed by Sanjana Taskar), insistent gruel server Mr. Woodhouse (portrayed by Jeffrey Blair Cornell), and the expecting Mrs. Anne Weston (portrayed by Rasool Jahan) who Weston points out Emma’s inability to secure real employment leads her to create the melodrama of her constructed world and destroy it at her will.   

This insight into the early 1800s offered the greatest commentary on history’s views and accessibility of women which offered nothing more than being seen and judged by their lineage, visage, and viability to male partners over being able to exist as equals in work, title, and ownership. Juxtaposed to this archaic time, a modern spin has Emma addressing the audience during and against the backdrop of scenes and in a reoccurring monologue similar to an episode of Saturday Night Live. With an accompanying soundtrack covering hits from the 20th and 21st centuries, this comedic take on a literary classic is both thought-provoking and fun. Playmakers Repertory Company for over 45 years has served as North Carolina’s premier professional theater company. With a proud lineage of producing plays on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Playmakers has consistently been named one of the “best regional theaters in all of America”. For more information on the company and to purchase tickets to future shows, please call (919) 962-7529 or visit