If you go
What: “Sense and Sensibility”
When: 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday and Nov. 17 and 18; 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Nov. 19.
Where: ArtsLab, 300 E. Main Street
Admission: $20 adults, $17 seniors age 60 and older, $11 students; 422-4226 or tickets.artstix.org
“Sense and Sensibility” is the classic Jane Austen tale of the newly impoverished Dashwood women figuring out how to survive in the late 18th century without a man to support them. They can not work, so they have little choice but to marry.
All for One Productions brings the bleak story to the stage tonight. The new adaptation by Kate Hamill is both faithful and fresh, says artistic director Lauren Nichols.
“I think the thing it highlights are the dichotomies suggested by the title,” she says. As represented by sisters Elinor and Marianne, there is the sense, or logical approach to things, and sensibility, which is the more emotional response to life.
The play is full of contrasts such as between levels of society, honesty and dishonesty, and greed and generosity.
“I think that that production underscores that particularly well,” Nichols says.
Instead of letting the play get weighed down by exposition, Hamill created five characters called The Gossips. They are having fun while helping move the story along, but Nichols stresses that in All for One's production, these are “not nice people” and their amusement is almost always at someone else's expense. They wear masks and move around furniture and even characters to create scenes.
In all, the production has a cast of 12 including Rebekah Fodrey as Elinor and Lydia Tomaszewski as Marianne.
Despite the story's somewhat dark themes, Nichols says the show is funny thanks to Austen's wit. Period costumes and classical music add to the atmosphere.
“And it has a happy ending – it's not a spoiler to know that,” she says with a laugh. “It's ultimately a feel-good story for the holidays.”
– Corey McMaken, The Journal Gazette