OCTA Opens Classic SENSE AND SENSIBILITY with Contemporary Twist
Jon Jory Adaptation Brings Fresh Comedy, Love and Family to the Stage
OLATHE, KS (Oct. 29, 2018) – Up next at Olathe Civic Theatre Association is Jane Austen’s beloved classic, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. This witty comedy of manners is directed by Jessica Franz and runs at OCTA November 2 – 18, 2018, with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm.
Audiences will recognize this powerful play by Jane Austen but will get a special treat with this Jon Jory adaptation. When two sisters who are alike only in their pursuit of happiness find themselves financially destitute and socially vulnerable after their father’s sudden death, they must struggle to determine what and who is truly important to them. Will Elinor’s common sense or Marianne’s impulsive passion offer up the key to living “happily ever after”? Expect the unexpected as this spirited tale of flirtation and folly bounds onto the OCTA stage in this boisterous adaptation of one of the theater’s beloved stories.
Franz did her first show at OCTA onstage as Suzanne in PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE in 2010. “I was able to jump right into my next show, directing DAVID’S MOTHER in 2011, then directed FUDDY MEERS in 2011. I travelled up north (North KC) for a few years, and was very excited to come back to the OCTA stage for ARCADIA and last season’s production of UNNECESSARY FARCE.
Looking at the OCTA history and shows they have recently done, Franz was drawn to a familiar, classic story that came with a contemporary perspective. “Jon Jory wrote (and directed) this adaptation of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY for Northlight Theatre in Chicago in 2011. The goal was to take Jane Austen’s amazing storytelling and construct it to flow on stage. He was the producing director at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville for 31 years and is a prolific playwright, with a knack for creating shows to fit in small theatres with small ensembles. I read several adaptations, and Jory’s popped out at me as staying true to the book, while being able to tell an exciting, engaging story on stage.”
Therefore, her interpretation on the OCTA stage is going to relate the story to new audiences by focusing on the sisters and their relationships. “We really focused on how the outside world & society affects our heroines, the Dashwood sisters. From the beginning, their lives are not their own. They have no inheritance, no options open to them, they are at the mercy of their next-door neighbors.” Franz notes how Jane Austen was actually an incredibly witty writer, but that her stories tend to cause people to remember just the romance parts. “This interpretation challenges that thinking, while also bringing out the humour that is Jane Austen’s writing.”
When asked about her favorite characters, Franz was quick to mention Marianne, one of the sisters. She appreciates the “pure & unadulterated love of passion and throwing herself 100% into whatever she chooses to at that moment, her ‘living life to the fullest’ mentality. Of course, there are consequences, but… what’s life without a few Willoughby’s in the road!” Another intriguing component of the show is the staging, which allows the characters to move the story forward without really leaving the world they’ve created, and without slowing down the action with set changes. “One of my favorite moments is when a chaise turns into a horse and whisks one of our heroines away. The actor playing the… horse, truly made it his own.” Franz reflects how she was “not the first person to put wheels on chairs,” but that she is very proud of the world that the design team and actors put together. “I hope you’ll join us for the ride.”
Up next for Franz? “In March I’m acting in BEAU JEST at The Chestnut just down the road. And May 2019, I am extremely excited to be directing THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at the Barn Players. It has been at the top of my radar for a few years now, and is an incredible insight into an autistic boys’ mind.” Audiences better catch her SENSE AND SENSIBILITY at OCTA while they can.
The cast includes: Derrick Freeman (Colonel Brandon), Khalid Johnson (Edward Ferrars), Erika Crane Ricketts (Elinor Dashwood), Amanda Bass (Ensemble), Kyle Tichenor (John Willoughby), Jeannie Blau (Lady Middleton), Amy Reinhardt (Lucy Steele), Meghann Deveroux (Marianne Dashwood), Don Leonard (Mr. John Dashwood), Irene Blend (Mrs. Ferrars), Tracy Fox (Mrs. Henry Dashwood), Karla M. Fennick (Mrs. Jennings), Victoria Hoffman (Mrs. John Dashwood), Lauren Crane (Ms. Grey), Patrick Peterson (Robert Ferrars), Charles Christesson (Sir John Middleton).
The creative team includes: Director – Jessica Franz (Director), DK Evenson (Stage Manager), Valerie Martin (Choreographer), Bill Wright (Set Designer), Chuck Cline & Camille Lerch (Lighting Designer), Rita Marks (Props Designer), Sarah Jeter (Costume Designer), Erin Brown (Sound Designer), Tamara Kingston (Dialect Coach).
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY runs for three weekends on November 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18.
Tickets may be purchased with credit card, check, or cash. Free parking is available in the OCTA lot and on the street. Concessions are available for cash or credit donation and may be taken into the theater.
About Olathe Civic Theatre Association
Olathe Civic Theatre Association (OCTA) is an all volunteer 501c3 organization producing theatre in Olathe since 1974. Performing in the Buddy Rogers Family Playhouse, OCTA produces five high-quality, engaging, and thought-provoking theatre productions a year. Through the generosity of volunteers, season ticket holders, donors, city, and community, in addition to a dedicated Board of Directors, OCTA has grown into one of the most progressive community theaters in the Kansas City metropolitan area. For more information, please visit www.olathetheatre.org
OCTA is a proud member of the Olathe Chamber of Commerce, Nonprofit Connect, Social Media ClubKC, and Olathe Arts Alliance. Many thanks to the Sunderland Foundation for their generous 2017-2018 grant.
OCTA’S UPCOMING 2018-2019 SEASON
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Nov 2 – Nov 18, 2018
An adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel
By Jon Jory
Directed by Jessica Franz
In this witty comedy of manners, two sisters who are alike only in their pursuit of happiness find themselves financially destitute and socially vulnerable after their father’s sudden death. Will Elinor’s common sense or Marianne’s impulsive passion offer up the key to living “happily ever after?” Expect the unexpected as this spirited tale of flirtation and folly bounds onto the OCTA stage in this boisterous adaptation of one of Austen’s beloved stories.
SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE
Feb 8 – Feb 24, 2019
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim | Book by James Lapine
Directed by Tiffany Schweigert
A blank page or canvas. So many possibilities. A moving study of the enigmatic artist Georges Seurat and his famous painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, this stunning musical merges past and present into beautiful and poignant truths about life, love, and the creation of art. Winner of the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for drama and nominated for an astounding ten Tony Awards, this masterpiece by the legendary team of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine will inspire you long after you leave the theatre.
SPECIAL EVENT – New Works Playwright Competition – March 1 & 2, 2019
Five finalists present 10-minute teasers of their scripts – audiences vote for the winner who will then receive a full-length workshop reading in July!
Apr 5 – Apr 21, 2019
By Kansas City playwright Michelle Tyrene Johnson*
Directed by Teresa Leggard
The Washingtons, an African-American family, have lived next door to the Levy family in a Philadelphia neighborhood for a few generations. In the wake of the death of the Washington family matriarch, a brother and sister come together to bury their beloved grandmother. The finding of old stock, by the Washington family, in the Levy family business, triggers the revelation of secrets, tensions, and reckonings.
A FLEA IN HER EAR
May 31 – June 16, 2019
A new version of Georges Feydeau’s farce
By David Ives
Directed by David Martin
As Raymonde suspects her suddenly uninterested husband is having an affair, she cooks up a trap to catch him in the act. Hilarity ensues as everything inevitably goes horribly wrong triggering laughs galore. Touted as the “greatest of French farces”, this dazzling comedy, and winner of the 2006 Jefferson Award for best adaptation, David Ives’ version of Georges Feydeau’s masterpiece achieves levels of glorious ridiculousness only an absurdist of Ives’ caliber can bring.
SPECIAL EVENT – New Works Playwright Competition Winner Workshop – July 12 & 13, 2019
The full-length workshop reading featuring the winning play from the March finals!