By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Jun 29, 2015 at 1:13 PM

Just one day after the nation was rocked to its foundation by the Supreme Court decision to honor love in all its forms the story of another love that blossomed as the world was changing came to our attention.

Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice" - the adaptation by Joseph Hanreddy and J. R. Sullivan - opened at American Players Theatre Saturday in a production that screams societal progress and growth both in history and today.

"Pride" is a powerful love story, many say the beginning of the romance novels of today, complete with strong heroines and powerful and sensitive heroes.

It is the story of Mr. Darcy (Marcus Truchinski) and Elizabeth Bennet (Kelsey Brennan), he alone, high-born and self-proud, she crowded in a family of five sisters, low-born and full of prejudice against those who do not meet her newly evolved expectations and standards.

When the Supreme Court decided Friday that love triumphs all and that members of the LGBT community could marry each other without legal barrier, the time of Darcy and Bennet was a time of cataclysmic change, when the aristocracy was giving way to the bourgeois.

The parallels between the two times are distinct and full of the force of events that will always be remembered.

Elizabeth lives in a house with her father (James Ridge) and mother (Sarah Day), a woman who wants nothing more than to have her daughters marry a man of wealth and substance. If there is no substance it’s still okay as long as there is wealth. Her machinations on behalf of her unbridled quest on behalf of her daughters and the reticence her husband has to her exuberance.

The initial contact between Darcy and Elizabeth is full of that kind of early depth of interest spark we see so often. But circumstance contrives to keep Darcy buttoned up, swollen in his private prides, and for Elizabeth to develop a growing antipathy to this stuffy silent man.

They part, their paths to continue crossing as he becomes ever more tongue tied in her presence and she becomes ever more disaffected with Darcy.

But, as in all good love stories, and this is a wonderful love story filled with great humor and real depth of emotion, love wins out in the end. When Darcy and Elizabeth shed their pride and their prejudice and share a tender kiss, followed by a huge romantic embrace, the cheers from the audience were immense. It was a giant "Thank God they finally saw the light."

Director Tyne Rafaeli has done a smart and sensitive job in shepherding this production. It is easy to overplay the "Pride" adaptations, to draw them broadly in favor of getting as many laughs as possible.

While Refaeli has allows for each bit of humor, she has also found something more serious in this play, something as welcome as the Supreme Court ruling.

This is as much about the rise of a class as it is about the development  and inevitability of the strong woman, a woman who knows her mind and won’t make the sacrifices demanded by convention.

As always, a flock of APT regulars deliver wonderful performances, the kind we have come to expect. In addition the designers and specialists have created an atmosphere that supports and allows for the vision of Rafaeli.

Truchinski is a true matinee idol as Darcy, letting us know that under his taut exterior lies a heart in full beat for Elizabeth.  Brennan is both a loyal sister and a woman of deeply held beliefs with a courage to live them and a full embrace of all that she believes. 

There is, however, call for mention of two actors who have become scene stealers.

Chris Klopatek, who plays an obsequious Mr. Collins, a newly minted clergyman who fawns before everyone like nobody has fawned before, is a study in humor mixed with pathos the drives him deep into our hearts and minds.

And Elyse Edelman, who plays the bookish daughter Mary, is so prim and proper that we find ourselves hoping that something good happens to her before too long.

Both of them deserve to have long runs as core members of the impressive APT community.

"Pride and Prejudice" continues in repertory and information on showtimes and tickets is available here.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.