This Greenville Journal article by Paul Hyde was originally published on November 17th, 2021. (Photos: Will Crooks)
Fittingly, the theater is bringing another Austen classic to the stage: “Sense and Sensibility,” opening Nov. 19 for 18 performances through Dec. 19.
After a grueling pandemic, this lively play about love among the wealthy, witty and well-mannered is just what the lord of the manor ordered, said director Kerrie Seymour.
“After all the challenges of COVID, to produce something this joyful, funny and romantic is really wonderful,” Seymour said. The staging aims at pleasing both devoted ‘Janeites’ and the modern theater-goer, Seymour said. The adaptation is by playwright Kate Hamill, known for her playful and high-spirited approach to classic literature. (Hamill also adapted the Warehouse’s “Pride and Prejudice.”)
Disinherited Dashwood sisters
The story follows the disinherited Dashwood sisters — sensible Elinor and hypersensitive Marianne — as they experience love and heartbreak while navigating a gossip-filled and reputation-obsessed Regency England. Hamill’s adaptation is faithful to Austen’s language. The accents are English and the costumes suggest 19th century Britain.
But there’s also considerable comic hijinks in Hamill’s adaptation, Seymour added. Hamill likens the setting to a “funhouse.” Accordingly, this production surrounds the stage with opulent blue and gold curtains that give the feeling the characters are in a “romantic, elegant circus tent,” Seymour said.
Six of the play’s eight actors perform multiple roles. The stage scenery, meanwhile, is minimalist: two trunks, three benches and five chairs.
All of the trappings, in short, mix the traditional with antic wit, Seymour said. The incidental music, for instance, includes classical tunes played on a toy piano and an orchestral arrangement of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”
Theater-goers should note: Audience members are required to wear masks. Patrons must also show proof of either a full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to the performance start time or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken with six hours of the performance.