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What is Sense & Sensibility ABOUT, anyway?

The story of Sense & Sensibility (without spoilers)

S&S posterHenry Dashwood was a wealthy landowner and master of Norland Park, a beautiful estate in Somerset. His first wife died, leaving him with a son, John. His second marriage produced three daughters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret. Henry’s unexpected death after 20 years of marriage results in John Dashwood, now married with a child, inheriting Norland Park and the whole Dashwood fortune, through a legal contract known as an ‘entail‘. An entail means that the property can only pass from father to son, not to daughters. If no son were living, the nearest male relation would inherit. (This is the device that drives the plot of the popular BBC drama, Downton Abbey.)

Although the dying Mr. Dashwood pleads with his son to “provide for” his step mother and three half-sisters, John’s wife, Fanny, persuades him to offer them only some minor assistance in moving out of Norland. Meanwhile, Fanny’s brother, Edward Ferrars, visits and he and Elinor develop a warm friendship. When Fanny makes it clear that her mother, Mrs. Ferrars, will never allow Edward to marry a woman without dowry (money from her family which goes to the man she marries) and station, Mrs. Dashwood hastily removes herself and her daughters to a cottage in Devonshire, on the estate of her cousin, Sir John Middleton.

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A Brief Biography of Jane Austen

S&S posterJane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) spent most of her 41 years living quietly with immediate family members in the English village of Steventon and Chawton, Hampshire. Her father was rector of the parish church at Steventon for many years, and took in pupils to supplement his modest income. Jane was the seventh of eight children born to her parents, and the second of only two girls. (Jane and her older sister Cassandra were extremely close throughout Jane’s life, as evidenced by their many letters to one another.)

Jane Austen goodJane received most of her education from her parents. Interested in writing from an early age, she wrote many short humorous pieces to be read at family gatherings. As an adult, she continued this practice, but began to write longer works—still with no thought of publication. In 1795 she finished Elinor and Marianne, (the prototype for Sense & Sensibility), and in 1796 she wrote First Impressions (which would become Pride and Prejudice).

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Dance and Music in SENSE & SENSIBILITY

S&S posterIf 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:

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The cast of SENSE & SENSIBILITY

PR photo

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.

 

Here is the cast in alphabetical order:

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Producing SENSE & SENSIBILITY

S&S posterNext 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.

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Famous Reformation-Era People and Terms You Need to Know

Luther PosterHere 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:

 

 

wyliffeJohn 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.

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A Wrinkle in Time: Dramaturgy

Wrinkle in Time show artThose 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. 

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