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Mansfield Park

    by Jane Austen (adapted by Pamela Whalan)



Please Note : This play is only available from us to customers in UK and Europe.
If you are outside this area, please go to David Spicer Productions

Drama Play Script: 'Mansfield Park' by Jane Austen adapted by Pamela WhalenFanny Price goes to live with her uncle and aunt, the wealthy Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram at Mansfield Park as her own family is too big and too poor to raise her properly. Fanny’s mother, Lady Bertram’s sister, married beneath her, and her father is a disabled ex-sailor and a drunkard. Fanny is treated badly at Mansfield by her other aunt, Mrs Norris, a busybody who is employed there as housekeeper. The Bertram daughters, Maria and Julia, are shallow, rather cruel girls, intent on marrying well and being fashionable. The elder son, Tom, is a roustabout and a drunk. Fanny grows up shy and deferential, caught as she typically is between members of the Bertram family and finds solace only in the friendship of the younger son, Edmund, who is planning to be a clergyman.

The play begins after Maria Bertram’s engagement to Mr Rushworth and whilst Sir Thomas is in Antigua. Fanny’s childhood introduction to the family and Tom’s extravagance are mentioned in the play, but are not dramatised. Henry and Mary Crawford are spoken of in the first scene as about to make a visit to their half-sister, and we meet them in the second scene. The visit to Sotherton and Mr Rushworth’s urge to improve his grounds are not mentioned but the relationship between Maria, Mr Rushworth and Henry Crawford, central to that section of the novel, is shown during the rehearsal of ‘Lover’s Vows’ and Mary Crawford’s attitude to the Church as a profession is aired at the ball given in Fanny’s honour. The rehearsal of the scene between Anhalt and Amelia is relocated to take place in the Common Drawing Room rather than the East Room. There are other omissions or relocations which had to be made in the interests of storytelling within the genre but the essence of the work tries to remain true to the spirit of the text.

Maria and Julia Bertram, are both in love with Henry; Mary Crawford tries to fall for Tom Bertram but ends up interested in his younger brother Edmund instead; and Fanny herself is in love with her cousin Edmund. The young people all get into lots of trouble while Sir Thomas is overseas. After a trip to Mr Rushworth's house, where Maria gets a little too cosy with Henry, the group starts looking for fun things to do at Mansfield Park instead. They all decide to put on Elizabeth Inchbald's play ‘Lovers' Vows’ (which contains some controversial subject matter), despite the objections of Edmund and Fanny. Sir Thomas returns home unexpectedly and the play is called off. Henry quickly departs, which breaks the hearts of Maria and Julia. Maria decides to marry Mr Rushworth after all and leaves for her honeymoon with Julia in tow.

Mary and Edmund fall further in love, though as a second son who will not inherit his father's estate, Edmund isn't entirely appealing to Mary. Henry decides to make Fanny his next conquest, but ends up genuinely falling for her. But when Henry proposes, Fanny refuses him, shocking all of her friends and neighbours. Fanny won't tell anyone the real reason for her refusal (she loves Edmund and thinks Henry isn't morally upright) and Sir Thomas decides to send Fanny to visit her family in Portsmouth. While there, Fanny discovers that Mansfield Park has become her real home. Shortly after, a number of tragedies and scandals strike the family: Tom Bertram falls ill through drink, Julia elopes, Maria has a disastrous affair with Henry and leaves her husband, and Edmund and Mary end their relationship. Eventually, Edmund falls in love with Fanny and the two marry.

The number of cast members is an important consideration when writing a play. Not every character that is mentioned in the novel can appear on stage. Mr Yates has only one attribute… he is noisy, so he never appears on stage but can be heard rehearsing his lines vigorously and loudly off stage. Dr and Mrs Grant are spoken of but never seen. William Price is known through Fanny’s conversation but to have him arrive would have complicated the action and lengthened the playing time considerably so he remains on board his ship throughout.

Jane Austen’s characters lived in a world where manners were markedly different but the motivation of human beings does not change. Two hundred years ago people laughed and cried and loved and hated, were self satisfied or self doubting, for the same reasons and in the same way as people who inhabit the 21st century.


Characters

(6m, 7f)

  Lady Bertram
  Sir Thomas Bertram
  Tom Bertram
  Edmund Bertram
  Maria Bertram
  Julia Bertram
  Fanny Price
  Mrs Price
  Mrs Norris
  Mr Rushworth
  Henry Crawford
  Mary Crawford
  Baddeley

  The voice of Mr Yates is also heard.



Please Note : This play is only available from us to customers in UK and Europe.
If you are outside this area, please go to David Spicer Productions

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