My dear friends invited me to join them for a theatrical performance of Sense and Sensibility. You know I said yes!
I mean, who doesn’t like Jane Austen? Ok, not everyone likes Jane Austen but she sure beats Charles Dickens, come on. And who doesn’t like the movie of Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet? You know you watch that on a rainy Sunday every so often.
I was super impressed when we arrived at the theatre by all of the Jane Austen fan club folks in attendance. I mean, there were outfits and hats and impromptu dancing. It was really very cute.
The production itself maybe didn’t live up to its full potential.
It was three hours long, ok. That is a long time. And you felt every minute of it.
The actress playing Marianne was clearly a very accomplished theatrical actor and her performance sparkled. She projected and delivered her lines confidently. Other members of the cast seemed challenged by the British accent which impacted their delivery.
The “colorblind” casting was an…interesting choice. I probably could have gone along with it, you know suspension of disbelief and all, but what I can only call “age-blind” casting made it difficult. When Margaret appears to be the same age as Marianne and Elinor (whether or not the Dashwood sisters are of three different ethnicities) and Colonel Brandon seems to be the same age as Edward Farris, it gets confusing and for me the plot sort-of fell apart.
Also, many of the actors played multiple roles, which again is the sort of thing that I would try to go along with (suspension of disbelief) except that I really couldn’t tell the difference between John Dashwood, Mr. Jennings, and the Doctor. I still don’t know who the not Colonel Brandon guy in the ball scene was.
At any rate, whatever the production was lacking was made up for by the conversation during the car ride home. I’ve already mentioned that this is one of my favorite things during ballet season. Having that time together to be critical and appreciative and constructive and silly made my evening.
We dissected the acting, the direction, the set, and the costumes. Why make this choice and then not take the logical next step? If you wanted to play it straight, then why not go super traditional with the sets and the costumes? How interesting would it be if the story was set in another time/place? When/where would you put it? For some reason, the mid-twentieth century Southern U.S. comes to my mind. Would you change the script? Cut scenes? Wouldn’t a re-write of the story be interesting? Like getting West Side Story out of Romeo and Juliet.