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11 September 2011 @ 11:18 pm
Theatreworks: Sense and Sensibility  
Sense and Sensibility
(The Stage Show)

I was rather underwhelmed by Sense and Sensibility when I read the novel two years ago. All the characters annoyed me for one reason or another: Elinor was too cold, Marianne was too emo, etc. I think that, too, I was mentally comparing it to Pride and Prejudice, which is a much more energetic book. Sense and Sensibility just seems so sluggish!

Anyway. Theatreworks, up in Mountain View, is doing a play version of Sense and Sensibility, and I wanted to see it. (I’m still rather annoyed that I missed the musical of Emma they did a few years back.) This is, what, three shows in less than a week? Turandot, Spring Awakening and now S&S? I wish theatre companies did a better job of spacing their shows out, but they always seem to arrive in clusters.

It’s such a fun play! I liked it so much better than reading the book. Many of the minor characters are gone – Mrs. Dashwood is dead, the youngest sister Margaret never existed, and the Middletons are only mentioned by name, if at all. Mrs. Jennings, if I remember correctly, is now an aunt of the Dashwood sisters. (I can’t remember if they were related in the book.) Many side plots were probably cut as well, making the narrative very tight and fast-paced. It was a great improvement.

An interesting thing that the director did was include period music throughout. So while this isn’t quite a musical, the characters (especially Marianne) would often reveal their emotions through 18th and 19th century songs, many of which were pulled from a collection Jane Austen had put together herself. Given how often characters in Austen novels seem to sit around and listen to each other sing and play the pianoforte, I really thought this added to the show.

Also, the costumes also made me so jealous! Every time someone would come sweeping in with a full-length gown, I sighed a little. Why don’t we dress up like that anymore?

Kuruma Chidori: Gosickchidorichan on September 18th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
I always hated Marianne (I wrote a whole paper about how she was really Austen's parody of over-the-top romanticism XD), but I liked Elinor... I guess I'm pretty cold and unemotional, too, but like her I can explode with emotion after holding it in for a while. ^^;

And the movie version with Alan Rickman made me love the story so much! XD 'Cause I felt bad for Colonel Brandon.

Hmm, sounds like some interesting changes... Not sure if I'd like it or not. I've seen BBC versions (old ones) without their younger sister. I suppose she barely has any point, other than showing Edward is good with kids.
Suzik00kaburra on September 19th, 2011 12:05 am (UTC)
Y'know, I've never seen the movie version.
But now that I know Alan Rickman is in it, that's gonna go to the top of the Netflix queue!!
Kuruma Chidori: Romeochidorichan on September 20th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
My first exposure to Austen (although I knew my sister liked the movie/TV adaptations--she never read the books, though) was a play at my college of P&P and I liked it so much, my sister showed me S&S with Emma Thompson the next day and I fell in love and read all her books and watched tons of versions. Emma Thompson's S&S is my favorite of all of the S&S versions I've seen. Alan Rickman is awesomely cute in it~

LoL And Willoughby is played by Emma Thompson's IRL husband, but she's in love with Hugh Grant's Edward (Kate Winslet is Marianne). I thought for some reason it was weird how Emma Thompson is in love with Hugh Grant and is just good friends with Alan Rickman in one movie and then in Love Actually she's siblings with Hugh Grant and married to Alan Rickman. It's called acting, me... XD