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Love and Lace Linger in Acacia Theatre Company’s "Emma"

June 28, 2011

Denise Elfe, River Hills costumer, enjoys the rich historic resources she literally can weave throughout the actors’ performances. Elfe works with her co-costume designer, Marie Wilke, of Glendale, to bring Austen’s novel to life.


“What a better way to spend a summer evening than with a romp through the past with new friends from a Jane Austen novel?”


This is the way Elfe describes how she relishes working with the cast of Emma. “The joy in costuming a play based on a Jane Austen novel such as Emma is in knowing there is a love of the era and a rich source of history in which to research both the line and silhouette of the period,” says Elfe.


“Jane Austen’s classics always get my lace-ideas outside of my head and on the stage. Fortunately, we had a wonderful donation of lace and fabrics donated to the company. I want the anonymous donor to know we have put them to good use, and I hope he or she has enjoyed seeing their fabrics on our stage,” said Elfe.


Costumes may be one project, but the plot involves another. In this crisp, dynamic retelling of Jane Austen’s comic masterpiece, Emma, matchmaker Emma Woodhouse has taken on a new “project” – her friend Harriet. Jon Jory’s adaptation of the classic novel portrays both girls as they journey through romances and friendships, and eventually become increasingly aware of their own strengths.


“I feel fortunate enough to work this summer with co-costume designer Marie Wilke. We costumed Pride and Prejudice a few season back and welcomed the opportunity to do another Austen period based production. We managed to come up with quite a nice collection of pieces we have made ourselves, along with several items from other sources,” said Elfe.


Elfe brings her previous experience to Acacia Theatre. Elfe is a UW-Milwaukee alumna of the Peck School of the Arts and enjoys costuming for other theater groups in the area. Her creativity brings thematic elements to life, especially in a play focused on romantic intrigue.


The play follows Emma as she becomes entangled in the romantic lives of her friends and acquaintances. Will she unwittingly find herself the victim of her own best intentions? Or will she ultimately journey from foolishness to maturity, learning the greater value of transformation of self over changing others? These timeless questions unfold dramatically in this production.


Acacia Theatre Company will perform the play July 15 through July 24 in Concordia University Wisconsin’s Todd Wehr Auditorium, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive in Mequon, Wis.


Performance Schedule and Ticket Information

Performances will be given at 8 p.m. on July 15, 8 p.m. on July 16, 3 p.m. on July 17, 8 p.m. on July 21, 8 p.m. on July 22, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on July 23 and 3 p.m. on July 24.

Tickets will be available by calling (414) 744-5995 or at Tickets will cost $16, or $13 for senior citizens, full-time students and full-time clergy. Group (10+) discounts are available.


About Acacia Theatre Company

Founded in 1980, Acacia Theatre Company is an independent, non-profit, interdenominational group of dramatic artists who share a common desire to integrate art and faith by presenting theatre from a Judeo-Christian worldview. Through uplifting, quality entertainment, Acacia provides occasion for thanksgiving, growth and enjoyment, and the opportunity for Christians and non-Christians to consider their lives in relation to God. More information is available at

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Caption for photo: Jennifer Gaul, Mike Lawson, Shannon Tyburski, Philip Birdener, Sharon Nieman-Koebert, David W. Eggebrecht (left to right) appear in Acacia Theatre's "Emma."

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