Patio Playhouse’s next production will be Kate Hamill’s stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.” The story, written by the famed writer of “Pride and Prejudice,” tells the tale of Dashwood sisters Elinor and Marianne as they come of age. The play will be performed from Oct. 25 to Nov. 17.
“Kate Hamill is [a] fresh female voice,” said the production’s director, Kelli Harless. “Her adaptations are clear insights into the crux of the story.” Said crux examines the role of women in the early 19th century, when they could not own property and marrying for love was considered something of an outlandish concept.
“Her adaptation is unique and fresh because the focus is on the women — how they individually cope with the situations thrown at them and how those struggles effect (sic) their relationship,” Harless said. “Ms. Hamill allows their story to remain the focal point. The other female characters often exemplify variations and are quite strong themselves.”
She called the adaptation a very “fluid” and “playful” adaptation of the novel. Patio Playhouse described the adaptation as taking the Masterpiece Theatre-esque tone of the original story and making it more comic, more energetic; livelier, faster.
“Kate Hamill has very successfully streamlined the story — hitting the major plot points and action — while presenting it in a very playful and engaging manner. I have tried with this production to capture that intent. The characters of Elinor and Marianne are the constants in the dance of the play. All other actors play 2-4 characters.”
The cast stars Maisy Holmes as Marianne and Tori Bleher as Elior, Martie Clark as Mrs. Dashwood, Amy Hypnarowski as Margaret, and Spencer Farmer as Colonel Brandon. “I have been blessed with a very astute and creative cast,” Harless said. “The challenges come in the collaboration process — my vision, the individual cast member vision and the given circumstances of the play. If an action or characterization enhances the story — that’s a win. Any action that detracts from the story goes away.”
“I believe it is important to meet the actors where they are artistically and, ideally, assist them to ‘learn and grow’ with the role(s) in which they have been cast,” she said. “This production is a great vehicle for that because there are very few constraints — imagination is key. It’s a definite break from a traditional play — which has been fun — and challenging at the same time.”
Unlike the musical romp that was “Little Women,” “Sense and Sensibility” will be performed in the more intimate space of Patio Playhouse’s black box theater on Kalmia Street in Escondido. But just like “Little Women,” Patio Playhouse will encourage audience members to donate to a charitable cause; in this case, the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum.
The show will play at 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets for the show are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, members of the military and students, and $12 for children aged 16 and under.