Theatre/Sewanee Presents ‘Sense and Sensibility’
by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Fans of Jane Austen and other classic creatives are uniquely well-suited to Sewanee, particularly to the University’s theatre department. The department has premiered quite a long list of classic works in previous years, and as of this week, the fall semester is joining the ranks with “Sense & Sensibility.”
Written by Austen in 1811 and at first published anonymously, “Sense & Sensibility” is the story of the Dashwood sisters, Marianne and Elinor, as they navigate young womanhood, the loss of their father, and complex family dynamics. Austen’s work was adapted for the stage by American playwright Kate Hamill and made its Sewanee debut this week. This production is directed by Visiting Assistant Professor Sarah Lacy Hamilton and will play in the Proctor Hill Theater through Sunday, Oct. 30.
Hamilton, who is in her first year at Sewanee, has specialized in directing throughout her academic career. Most recently, she directed Sarah Ruhl’s “In the Next Room,” at River & Rail Theatre Company in Knoxville. Hamilton has also directed “Sweat” by Lynn Nottage, “HIR” by Taylor Mac and a variety of new works by writers in the prestigious Iowa Playwrights Workshop.
“I’ve always known I wanted to be a director. Some of my earliest memories are of directing my childhood friends and family members in backyard productions when I was a little girl. Before studying directing formally, I trained as an actor, and that still has a major influence on my artistic and academic work,” Hamilton said. “As a director, I am most passionate about plays with great heart that embrace all of the contradictions of life and that hold the tragic and the comic in the same breath. I specialize in actor-driven new and contemporary works that foreground the human condition and highlight the experiences of underrepresented communities.”
“In this production, I’ve worked very closely with our Movement Director, Olivia Millwood, to create a style of movement and choreography that is playful and evokes the Regency era.”
Olivia Millwood, movement director and light designer for the production, has been dancing for most of her life and began exploring choreography within the last 5 years.
“Theatre is a culmination of all my interests. It can be very political, bold, and quite philosophical, but simultaneously asks both its makers and the audience to push beyond the boundaries of reality. It’s entertaining while also challenging the mind to think creatively. It’s a field in which we are constantly learning about anything and everything,” Millwood said.
Kalia Thompson, a senior english and theatre double major, is playing Marianna Dashwood, who is referred to as the sensibility aspect of the play. Thompson has been acting since she was 5-years-old and said that she originally became interested in acting as an extension of her desire to better understand others.
“I gravitated towards acting due to the ability to step into someone’s shoes and understand their story better. I’ve always loved stories, and acting allows me to bring them to life,” Thompson said.
Hamilton added that, as with almost any production, she is most looking forward to seeing the audience experience the play.
“It is playful, goofy and very fun. I can’t wait to have the energy of the audience in the room, to hear their vocal and physical responses, and to see how that changes the experience of the play,” Hamilton said.
For more information about the production, or to reserve your free tickets, visit <www.eventbrite.com/e/sense-and-sensibility-tickets-430396636927>.