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The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy Lydia Tomaszewski, left, and Rebekah Fodrey star in "Sense and Sensibility" opening Friday.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017 11:30 am

Spotlight: Lydia Tomaszewski, 'Sense and Sensibility'

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

If you go

What: "Sense and Sensibility"

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Nov. 17 and 18; 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Nov. 19

Where: ArtsLab, 300 E. Main St.

Admission: $20 adults, $17 seniors age 60 and older, $11 students; 422-4226 or

All for One Productions opens an adaptation of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" on Friday.

The story follows the newly impoverished Dashwood women as they figure out how to survive at a time when women did not have many options. Sisters Elinor and Marianne must marry – but how will their contrasting personalities influence their decisions?

All for One's cast includes Rebekah Fodrey as Elinor and Lydia Tomaszewski as Marianne. The adaptation by Kate Hamill is directed by Lauren Nichols.

Tomaszewski answered some questions via email. Responses have been edited. For more on the show, see Friday's Weekender.

Q. What inspired your interest in theater, and why did you want to do this show?

A. My mother used to live in New York City and see all the Broadway shows, so from as long as I can remember, she would play the cast recordings for my siblings and me. By the age of 7, I was walking around the house with white underwear on my head, singing “Music of the Night.” I thought it looked pretty convincing.

As a classical literature buff, Jane Austen’s books have always enthralled me! When I heard about the audition, I could not resist the opportunity to combine two of my favorite things!

Q. Aside from learning lines, what did you do to prepare for this role? Any research on the original book or time period?

A. I read the book twice, actually, as I wanted to try and connect with both the main characters. I also watched the 1995 movie, and then I binge-watched YouTube videos. From Regency hairstyles and stage makeup tutorials to “Perfecting the English Accent for American Actors” and 19th century etiquette, I may have gone slightly overboard! In addition, I read a few brief biographies on Jane Austen and studied Regency Era paintings to obtain a general impression for the era.

Q. This story has maintained its popularity for many years. What connects today’s audience to “Sense and Sensibility”? Or is there something you want the audience to walk away thinking?

A. In the style of most of Austen’s works, "Sense and Sensibility" is the classic beautiful love story. A majority of people can relate to Edward’s shyness when in the presence of the girl he likes, or Marianne’s infatuation with the charming Willoughby, but apart from the two love stories running throughout, there is also this deep connection between family members. At the opening of the play, the relationship between Elinor and Marianne is slightly strained, as their polar opposite personalities often clash. As the story progresses we perceive a change as they both mature and grow closer. I think anybody can connect to either or both of these two elements of the story.

I am very excited to perform the show for the people that have not heard of "Sense and Sensibility" or even Jane Austen. I would hope to inspire them to read Austen’s novels for themselves and discover all her beautiful characters!

Q. Obviously, things are very different in 2017 than in the time that the book was written. What do you think your character’s reaction would be to the present?

A. In the Regency period, people considered it extremely forward to outright express one’s feelings and opinions. Marianne would probably enjoy the present, as people are no longer so restrained as far as how to act and what to say in public. She would also enjoy unrestricted access to talk and flirt with the opposite sex!

Q. If you were attacked by pig-sized spider creatures, what from the show would you use to defend yourself? Would you make it?

A. I would probably try and utilize the rolling tables somehow, but it would undoubtedly fail!