Pride, prejudice, and playing oboe

Lilianne Harris, Beat Editor

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Pride and Prejudice is normally not thought of as a musical, but to oboist Sam Sieler, it couldn’t be anything but.
In order to understand why Pride and Prejudice has music, it’s important to look at who exactly is playing it, and why they were chosen.
“Oboe is an instrument of the early 19th century, which is the same era Pride and Prejudice takes place in,” Sieler said. “We were like, ‘okay, let’s put in oboe, then!’”
She’s a junior, and has played oboe in various groups over the years, including the Bellevue Youth Symphony and the WMEA All-State Band; she’s been playing the instrument since fifth grade. Suffice to say, Sieler knows the oboe very well.
According to her, the reason why Pride and Prejudice has music is to add an additional, interesting element into the play, and tie together the acts thematically.
This manifests in Pride and Prejudice itself in how the musical segments. They start and end each act, supporting the story not through adding plot beats the way a musical would, but by emphasizing the theme and the tone of the story.
While it might seem like a struggle, having that additional element wasn’t all that much of a difficulty for Sieler. “There’s not much of a shift between acting and playing oboe, actually. All I do is go from reciting memorized lines to playing memorized music.”
This doesn’t mean that she didn’t have to put in more effort; more rehearsals were necessary to line up her accompaniment with the rest of the choral, and that wasn’t the only difficulty.
“To play at the beginnings of acts, I had to get to the stage before anybody else, and that was always a bit scary,” she said.
It may have been scary, but it paid off well, because the effect of having oboe with choral not only sounded great, but served the story incredibly well too.
“With theatre, you have to be confident in order to deliver your lines right, and you also have to be confident with the oboe since it’s a very loud instrument, so they go together well,” Sieler explained.