Jane Austen Classic is Next ESU Theatre Show

April 13, 2017

Emporia State University Theatre presents “Sense and Sensibility” adapted by Kate Hamill, based on the novel by Jane Austen.

In 18th-century England, a woman cannot own land or money on her own; she must marry her way into a comfortable life. After the sudden death of their father, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are left penniless and must maneuver their way into financial and social stability. This story will make audiences laugh, cry and cry from laughter. Most notably, the production features a bold new take on a 200-year-old masterpiece still taught in high school and college literature classes today.

“As adapted for the stage by Kate Hamill… ‘Sense & Sensibility’ might be described as Jane Austen for those who don’t usually like Jane Austen, finding her work too reserved for lively entertainment. Yet I would imagine that even fanatical Janeites, as her most devoted admirers are known, will not take offense, once they get used to this production’s audaciously high energy level,” said New York Times critic Ben Brantley in his February 2016 review of the off-Broadway production.

The ESU company had the opportunity to discuss the show with Kate Hamill, who adapted the novel into a stage production, and starred in the Bedlam-produced world-premiere of the show at the Sheen Center in New York City on Nov. 10, 2014.

The play is under the direction of Assistant Professor Dan Matisa, who is in his second year as an ESU faculty member. Matisa is excited to tell a timeless story to an audience.

“The themes that Jane Austen so brilliantly wrote about are so universal and timeless: love, money, societal rules, the public and private faces we all wear, the harm of gossip, the undue judgment of others — these are themes that always have power, and always provide great humor, no matter the time period,” Matisa said. “It’s why Jane Austen’s works have endured and have been so beloved for so long. She’ll never go out of style!”

The production staff for the production features Costume Designer Susan Mai, who is designing her final production at ESU before her retirement after this spring semester. The staff also includes Scenic Designer Nancy J. Pontius and Technical Director Chris Lohkamp.

Student members of the production staff include junior Abbi Timmermeyer (Andover), production stage manager, and assistant stage manager sophomore Hewleek McKoy (Olathe). sophomore Matt Mahr (Overland Park) will be designing the lighting for the production, and senior Allison Demeyer (Mulvane) will serve as the dramaturg for the show.

The rest of the company includes freshmen Olivia Nunnelley (Goddard), Mollie McClanahan (Topeka), Stephen Holbert (Olathe), Carissa McAfee (Valley Falls), Maddie Simmons (Emporia), Trevor Molz (Shawnee), Aidan Quinn (Shawnee), and Nicole Atkinson (Derby); sophomores Eric Maxwell (Garden City), Andrew Ralston (Topeka), Evan Grantham (Girard), Corrine Payton (Hartford), and Torin Horvik (Fargo, North Dakota); juniors Jacob Shaefer (Pratt), Tad Gilbert (Andover), Fran Opheim (Olathe), Cassidy Tilden (Topeka), Roman Haen (Lee’s Summit, Missouri), and Erin Dublin (Olathe); seniors Bailey Carter (Topeka), Tyler Lang (Wichita), Heather Kropf (Westphalia), Ryan Howerton (Haysville), Kun Li (Yantai ShanDong, China Malaree Hood (Derby), Courtney Romero (Kansas City), Hanmo Zhu (Shenyang Liaoning, China), and Cameron Reynolds (Louisburg).

“Sense and Sensibility” will play in the Ronald Q. Frederickson Theatre April 25 through 29 at Emporia State University. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, and $5 for students ages 4 through college (college students must present school ID). The may be purchased online at either www.emporia.edu/theatre or www.emporia.edu/union, at the ESU Memorial Union Ticket Office or by calling 620-341-6378.

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