If you’ve ever seen a screen adaptation of any of Jane Austen’s works, you may have noticed that dancing plays a significant part in the social life of her characters. Whether it’s Anne in Persuasion, who is considered an old maid and consequently is expected to play the piano while her younger cousins dance with the man she loves…or the drama of who dances with whom in Emma, an instance where dance really moves the plot along…or the younger Bennett sisters in Pride and Prejudice constantly clamoring to dance, or the tense conversation between Elizabeth and Darcy during several dances in that same novel…Austen uses dancing in dramatic, specific ways to advance plot and reveal character.
Sense and Sensibility is no exception, although it is not dancing per se which is the key to the London ballroom scene in Act 2. Nonetheless, the dances need to be right, and there was only one place to turn:
Lydia Tomaszewski as Marianne (left) and Rebekah Fodrey as Elinor (right)
We are pleased to have a mix of afO regulars and fantastic new talent in our upcoming production. These twelve hard-working actors, all volunteers who come together three nights a week from other jobs or schooling, are having a wonderful time creating a play which will delight and uplift our audiences next month.
Next month, afO brings a beloved author’s work back to our stage. Jane Austen’s Emma was an audience favorite back in 2012. This time, we are presenting the area premiere of a lively new adaptation of Austen’s Sense & Sensibility. Just how lively, you ask?
This stage play moves at a gallop, with five catty Gossips leading the way, commenting on scenes, moving the other actors into place, and taking a number of key roles themselves.
For those who may wish to pursue further reading on Martin Luther and the Reformation era, here is a bibliography of the research sources I used when I wrote A Mighty Fortress (1988). In 1991 when we premiered it (after…
Here are short descriptions of the main historic figures and terms referred to in A Mighty Fortress and its new Prologue.
Being a bit familiar with them in advance will definitely help you to appreciate the events more thoroughly.
HISTORIC PEOPLE AND TERMS FOR YOU TO KNOW:
John Wycliffe(ca 1320 to 1384): known as the “Morning Star” of the English Reformation, an Oxford seminary professor who publicly criticized the decadence of the clergy and the luxurious excess of the Church. He supported rendering the Scriptures into the language of the common people, and supervised a translation of the Bible from the Vulgate into Middle English. He died of a stroke in 1384. He was declared a heretic by the Catholic Church in 1415, and his remains were exhumed, burned, and cast into a river.
It's fairly obvious from the banner what WE are celebrating this year: all for One was founded 25 years ago this September. But by a happy coincidence, the very first play in our repertoire, A Mighty Fortress, concerns the events…
Those who are familiar with all for One will know that since 2010 we have included notes in every program designed to enrich our audience’s understanding and enjoyment of our plays. These notes, loosely referred to as dramaturgy, may include, among other things: brief biography of original author or playwright, overview of the story and/or the time period, a timeline of historic events related to the play, and notes about our staging choices.
This blog was created in 2013 to serve as a repository of all the information we can’t cram in a page or two of the printed program. In this case, there is so much information readily available online about this book, we are choosing to limit our writing to a brief biography of L’Engle and a synopsis of the beginning of the book, along with some notes on our staging. After the play opens on April 28, we may include more production notes along with photos.
Here then is an only-slightly-expanded version of the Dramaturgy you will find in our program. Those of you who will attend get a chance to read it ahead of time, and in better light.
Although it is hard for us on staff to realize that we are already less than a month away from our closing production of 2016-2017, designer/director Jeff Salisbury has been hard at work planning this area premiere for nine months…
There isn’t really any such thing as a “spoiler” in a well-known story, but you might want to read this post after you see the show, so that its impact isn’t diminished by anticipation.
If you know the play well, or have seen other productions, you will certainly notice a couple of things missing or changed in our version–over and above the material cut according to the criteria given in Dramaturgy part 1.
Shakespeare calls for a “Chorus” to speak the opening speech. But he abandons that convention after the first act and Chorus disappears. With another tip of the hat to Larry Life’s 1976 production, I severely edited the prologue and gave the lines to Friar Lawrence, who also ends the play. (The final quatrain in Shakespeare’s version is spoken by the Prince. But I find it more emotionally satisfying coming from the Friar.)
2. The Capulet servant in Act I, Scene 1 is supposed to be called Samson. But he (and Gregory) disappear, never to be seen again. However, Peter has a recurring small role as the clownish, illiterate servant, following the Nurse around, delivering invitations for Capulet, etc. And in the scene in which Mercutio teases the Nurse, Peter protests that he is always ready to fight “if the law be on my side”…which was a primary concern for the servant in Scene 1. Convinced therefore, that Samson is actually Peter, I made the change.
3. Regarding swords: renting swords was remarkably easy–especially because our friends at Fire & Light had just done The Three Musketeers and had exactly what we needed! We transferred their rental agreement with weaponsofchoice.com to afO. However, sword sheaths are very tricky to fit and expensive to rent. We ended up just having the actors tuck their swords into belts. This is fine as long as the actor can keep a hand on the hilt in order to keep the sword from sticking out behind and potentially stabbing an audience member. Therefore, though most actors should have been carrying weapons most of the time, we limited to absolute need.
I did not want Romeo carrying a sword at his wedding. He goes directly from there to the fight with Tybalt, so we solved it this way: