Image: Contributed Zoë Sommerfeld (left) and Amy Williams will star in Sense and Sensibility at Okanagan College.

Red Dot Players bring Sense and Sensibility to OC

Audience members can expect a fun and fast-paced look at Austen’s classic 1811 novel

Jane Austen is coming to Okanagan College in March, via the College’s very own theatre troupe – the Red Dot Players – who are staging a popular new adaption of one of the author’s best known works.

Featuring a cast of veteran players and newcomers, and under the direction of OC English Professor Jeremy Beaulne, the curtain will rise on Sense and Sensibility for a four-night run from March 9 to 12 in the Lecture Theatre at the Kelowna campus.

The play follows the Dashwood Sisters, Elinor (played by Amy Williams) and Marianne (played by Zoë Sommerfeld), as they navigate travails of the head and the heart in Victorian era England.

Audience members can expect a fun and fast-paced look at Austen’s classic 1811 novel, thanks to a spirited new script by playwright Kate Hamill which has already been produced to acclaim on some of the world’s leading stages since it was published in early 2016.

“This adaptation really amplifies the humour of Austen’s novel while preserving the complex relationships and social spheres within,” says Beaulne. “It lends an almost Monty Python-esque element of comedy to the story in places, while still conveying the serious struggles of two young women searching for autonomy and independence.”

The production marks Beaulne’s sixth time in the director’s chair for the Red Dot Players. He is also no stranger to the source material.

“I love Jane Austen and have taught her works in a number of courses,” explains Beaulne. “Whether you are familiar with Sense and Sensibility or completely new to the novel, I think there is something for everyone in this adaptation.”

According to the director, one of the factors that makes the play a challenge to stage is one of the reasons it continues to excite audiences.

“There are more scene changes in this play – upwards of 20 – than any other I’ve ever directed,” says Beaulne. “It’s a whirlwind from start to finish. The cast and crew have worked incredibly hard and are ready to share that wonderful energy with audiences.”

Ticketholders will be treated to sweeping hand painted vistas by local artist and OC employee Marie Bartlett. A series of immense canvases set the stage for the action and are intended to transport the audience to the English countryside. Actors will be outfitted in beautiful period costumes sewn by Christine Caumartin and OC employee Karen Tessier.

The Red Dot Players troupe was formed in 2010 and have produced six plays leading up to Sense and Sensibility: The Beaux’ Stratagem (2011), Blithe Spirit (2012), Les Belles-Soeurs (2013), The Government Inspector (2014), The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon (2015), and A.K.A. Fangirl (2016). The troupe provides students and employees with an opportunity to contribute to the Okanagan’s bustling creative arts scene.

Tickets are available at Mosaic Books, the Okanagan College campus store and will also be available at the door ($18 for adults and $15 for students/seniors). Learn more on the Red Dot Players website www.reddotplayers.com/.

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