MANALAPAN – The Monmouth County Library will stage a series of events ranging from movies to book discussions honoring the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, the renowned British novelist whose books interpreted and critiqued the landed gentry in England during the late 18th century. Events will be held both at library Headquarters, Symmes drive, as well as in many of the library branches in Monmouth County.
Highlight of the month-long celebration will be Radio Raconteur’s presentation of Pride and Prejudice: A staged radio play slated for the Headquarters Library, on Sunday. Nov. 12.
The radio play, complete with theatrical lighting, vintage commercials, Golden Age radio equipment and sound effects, together with costumed actors, features Laurence Mintz and Danielle Illario, and Alex Dawson in the leading roles.
Beginning at 3 p.m., the program at the Headquarters library also allows time and planning for audience participation.
Best known for six major novels, though she wrote many more, Austen’s works have regained immense popularity in the 21st century because of their plots exploring the dependence of women on marriage in their pursuit of favorable social standing and economic security.
“One of the assets of having a Monmouth County library system is the ability for Monmouth County to offer entertaining and educational programs in various neighborhoods, making the library even more accessible to more people,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. “The staff works together in formulating ideas and designing presentations that are meaningful and available closer to home while celebrating specific events or persons who are popular to everyone.”
“Jane Austen published Pride and Prejudice in 1813 and it still speaks to us today,” Burry said. In the novel, the Bennets are hoping for wealthy and established suitors for their five daughters, but what do the daughters want? Elizabeth, the second eldest daughter has strong opinions about everything including Mr. Darcy. Listeners will marvel as the talented voices of Raconteur Radio bring these characters to life. The radio play, known as an “ear movie,” is a story told through dialogue, sound effects, and music. The Raconteur Radio troupe adds costumes, colored spots, a fatboy Elvis microphone, and, sometimes, a fog machine and/or a strobe light, then performs the play for live audiences.
Raconteur Radio stages theatrical presentations of vintage radio plays, classic works of literature/film, and pop culture parodies for live audiences at traditional and improvised venues throughout the Tri-state area. For more info, visit www.RaconteurRadio.com.
In addition to the Nov. 12 presentation, the Hazlet Library branch is offering a different Austen film every Wednesday in November beginning at 2 p.m.
Special Jane Austen programs are also being offered at the Colts Neck, Wall Township, Allentown and Marlboro libraries during the month. For further information on each of the programs, and all other programs offered at the headquarters library and each of its branches, visit the Monmouth County library’s website at www: monmouthcountylib.org. As with all programs at the library, there are no fees and the public is welcome to attend. No reservations are required for the Jane Austen 200th Anniversary series.