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  • JASNA Wisconsin

A Review of American Players Theatre's Sense and Sensibility

This post is contributed by Phyllis Menne, Chair of Madison and Western WI.

Image courtesy of American Players Theatre.

In August, JASNA-Wisconsin members and friends gathered for a champagne picnic at the American Players Theatre (APT) in their woods near Spring Green, Wisconsin. The APT is known for its expert Shakespearean plays produced over the last 30 years in their open-air theater. APT had successfully produced Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in 2015, so we came with excitement and curiosity to experience their stage version of Austen’s Sense and Sensibility!

Prior to the performance, more than 40 JASNA members and guests joined together for a summer picnic under the Pavilion, some in Regency attire (Mrs. Bennett would be pleased with such a gathering!). Liz Philosophos Cooper, national JASNA president, gave a champagne toast in honor of Jane Austen.

The opening scene immediately drew me in to the Austen era experience with Regency costumes and dialogue. The play begins with the Dashwood family in the country cottage provide by Mr. Jennings, a distant cousin. The Austen characters were familiar — with Mrs. Dashwood grieving the loss of husband and home, and Elinor and Marianne sparring over each other’s level of emotional responses in life and love — but with a much more cleaver and comedic Margaret stealing the scenes. Mr. and Mrs. Jennings, played by master actors Sandra Day and Brian Mani, were exceptional at creating mischief, gossiping, and prying on Elinor and Marianne. Then, just when Marianne would meet her Mr. Willoughby and before Colonel Brandon could suffer from Marianne’s complete indifference to him, the sky opened up with a downpour of rain. The play was cancelled.

Others managed to see the entire play and write about it. Enjoy this fun filled review over a cup of tea and favorite treat:!


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