Judy McLellan as Lady Russell and Roger Monk as Sir Walter Elliot in Metro Theatre’s production of Persuasion. (photo by Tracy-Lynn Chernaske)
Who hasn’t wished for at least one do-over, a second chance? Who hasn’t made the mistake of following bad advice, even if it was well-intended?
In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Anne Elliot falls in love with naval officer Captain Frederick Wentworth and they become engaged, but, based on the counsel of a family friend, Anne breaks off the engagement. Jewish community member Judy McLellan plays Lady Russell – the purveyor of that counsel – in Metro Theatre’s upcoming production of Persuasion, which runs until April 20.
“Lady Russell was a very close friend of Anne’s mother, who died, and she had taken the role of surrogate mother to Anne since that time,” explained McLellan. “She is very protective of Anne and felt that Anne was too young to get married, especially to a man who, at that time, had no money and no real position in society. This is why she now sees Mr. Elliot [Anne’s cousin] as a much more desirable match for Anne.”
Persuasion was adapted for the theatre by British playwright Timothy Luscombe. The Metro Theatre production is directed by Joan Bryans. McLellan, who was part of the cast of Metro’s Calendar Girls, which the Jewish Independent quite enjoyed (jewishindependent.ca/calendar-girls-now-at-metro), auditioned specifically for the role of Lady Russell. “Got a call back and then Joan offered me the role, which I was very excited to accept,” said McLellan.
Pride and Prejudice was McLellan’s “first venture into Jane Austen.”
“Loved it,” she said. “Went on to read the rest!”
About Persuasion, she said, “It’s a wonderful period piece of mid-19th century. The characters are diverse and interesting, and very reflective of society at that time. But, above all, it’s a love story, which, after all the trials and tribulations, comes to a delightful happy ending. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?!”
For tickets to Persuasion, visit metrotheatre.com.
To raise funds for building up-keep, Metro Theatre is holding a silent auction during the run of Persuasion for a painting by Tracy-Lynn Chernaske. “By tying together appropriate colours and soft textures, the painting reflects suggestions of [Jane] Austen’s historical multi-location story line, full of ships, seaside beaches, grand old manors and tidy cottages.” The opening bid is set at $300 and the winner will be announced on closing night. Bidding ballots, the artist’s bio and more information can be found at metrotheatre.com/show-persuasion-2019.