Persuaded into IU's summer theatre



Persuade, Persuasion, and Persuaded. All words frequently referenced by Jane Austen in her novel “Persuasion,” which in 2010 was adapted to the stage by Jennifer Le Blanc.

From the first moment the lights dimmed and the student and professional actors took the stage in the IU Wells-Metz Theatre, the world was seen through Jane Austen’s eyes, or Anne Elliot’s, the protagonist of this particular Austen story. Director Dale McFadden, made me feel I was living in the world of the peerage system myself, even if it was just for a short period of time.

Elliott is a woman dealing with heartbreak and loss, trying to find closure, but can’t let go of the past.

The themes of being persuaded are present throughout the play, and make one reflect on how often we are persuaded in aspects of life, like in Elliot’s case, love.

Elliot is persuaded by her godmother, Lady Russell, to break off her engagement with Captain Wentworth.

The actor, Ashley Dillard,  who plays the role of Anne Elliott perfectly captivates the emotional trials faced by the character.

After falling to persuasion once and dealing with heartbreak, Elliott learns her lesson, and doesn’t fall to persuasion again.

When Dillard spoke she held the audience in her hands, but she wasn’t the only character who had the people of the theater on the edge of their seats.

Her sister, Mary, played by Tara Chiusano, had the crowd laughing from the time she entered the stage to the time she exited, each and every time.

What Austen and the actors achieve throughout this narrative is expressing the feelings of love and loss equally.

Elliot is coping, equally, with losing Wentworth and loving him. Elliot made me feel as if I was losing Wentworth too, and I knew all the while, I didn’t want to lose him.

It baffles me after eight years, the couple, Elliot and Wentworth, finally forgave one another, and reached a happy ending, no longer being persuaded by the thoughts and opinions of others.

However, in eight years time, both characters learned lessons about life and love, that are important for all people to learn. Whether it be through the power of Jane Austen’s pen, or through the performance of actors on the stage, Jane Austen’s “Persuasion,” is a must see, or read.

With only three performances left, buy your tickets to see Persuasion, at IU soon. You can buy your tickets online or at the box office.