What happened before the action of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice?
How did the ill-matched Mr and Mrs Bennet come to be together?
Australian writer Emma Wood's play Mr Bennet's Bride - which premiered in Newcastle in 2014 - is a prequel that provides answers to these questions. Aarne Neeme is directing a production for Canberra Repertory Society.
"It looks at the marriage of James and Sarah Bennet," Neeme said.
In Austen's era and milieu, marriage was about codifying sexual relationships, social status and property arrangements as much as, if not more than, love.
"It was a contract of families and society."
In the play, set in the late 18th century, James Bennet (played by Sean Sadimon) is reluctant about being pushed into marriage by his widowed father Robert (Rob de Fries), who is obsessed with getting a male grandson.
It's not that Robert's concerns lack validity.
James is an only child.
His mother died when he was born, which contributes to the tensions between the father, who's never really recovered from the loss, and his son.
He needs to marry and have a son so Longbourn, the Bennets' property, can remain in his family's hands.
Otherwise, under the laws of inheritance, it will pass to a male cousin.
Benedict Collins (Terry Johnson) is keen for his infant son (who will grow up to be the Mr Collins of Pride and Prejudice) to inherit the estate.
But James wants to marry for love, not money and status, and resents his father's pressure to choose a suitable woman as soon as possible from the ones Robert deems eligible.
On the advice of Mary (Liz St Clair Long), James' widowed aunt who helped raise him, Robert gives his son an ultimatum: he must marry within six months or be thrown out of the house.
Then a woman catches James's eye - but it's not one of the potential wives Robert has been promoting.
Emily (Stephanie Waldron) is the daughter of Robert's attorney George Gardiner (Iain Murray).
She is attractive and outgoing and not as demure as other young women, and James is more than intrigued.
"He's besotted by her," Neeme said.
James begins wooing her in secret and Mr Gardiner is all too keen to encourage the match.
But as anyone familiar with Pride and Prejudice knows, James will live to regret this as Emily has some less desirable qualities.
As another British writer, William Congreve, put it: Married in haste, we may repent at leisure.
Neeme said one of the things he liked about the play was that while there was a lot of high comedy, there was also a more serious side, such as when Robert finally has a heart-to-heart talk with James.
"He admits he may not have been the best father."
While the story's ending is known in advance to anyone who's familiar with Austen's novel or one of its many stage and screen adaptations, the fun, as with any romantic comedy, is in how it unfolds.
When the director originally engaged for Mr Bennet's Bride became ill several weeks ago, Neeme was contacted to see if he would come aboard.
"I read the play and really liked it."
Now Canberra audiences who are fans of Jane Austen and period pieces with comedy and a bit of drama can see how they like it.
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