Hedgerow Steps Back in Time With Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”

As it prepares to celebrate its 91st birthday, Hedgerow Theatre has gathered a cast of present and returning actors to take audiences back to early 19th-century England with Jon Jory’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, which runs from April 24 to June 1.

The production is directed by Artistic Director Jared Reed, who also helmed last year’s successful staging of Pride and Prejudice. “We’re really excited to do another Jane Austen work,” Reed noted, “revisiting a world we’re familiar with and a theatrical language we love, but with a different story. It’s wonderful seeing what happens in such a classic book come to life, reminding us of why theatre works.”

Sense and Sensibility was Austen’s first published novel, released in 1811 under the pseudonym “A Lady,” since it was deemed unseemly at that time for women to seek recognition outside the home. The book is a brilliant commentary on the society of the time, when women also couldn’t own property or sign a contract, leaving them dependent on their male relatives. It tells the story of the Dashwood sisters, level-headed, practical Elinor and impulsive Marianne, who embody the two title attributes. When their father dies and their half-brother inherits the estate, they are left with the difficult challenge of finding suitable husbands–and romance–without dowries.

Jory’s adaptation retains much of Austen’s original dialogue, providing a real picture of the world during the Regency Period, a time of great political, economic and social change. “This was the time when middle-class romantic love was born,” Reed explained. “Marriages were no longer arranged, and  people had to choose between marrying for love or trying to preserve wealth.”

Jennifer Summerfield and Nell Bang-Jensen play Elinor and Marianne. Their potential love interests are portrayed by Steve Carpenter (Edward Ferrars), Liam Castellan (Colonel Brandon) and Brock Vickers (John Willoughby). Also appearing are Colleen Marker as Lucy Steele, Stacy Skinner as Mrs. Henry Dashwood, Maryruth Stine as Mrs. Jennings, Andrew Parcell as John Dashwood. Rounding out the ensemble in multiple roles are Andrew Parcell (John Dashwood, Robert Ferrars, Sir John Middleton) and Joanna Volpe (Mrs. John Dashwood, Lady Middleton, Mrs. Ferrars).

Following a preview on Thursday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m., performances are scheduled through June 1 at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, at 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. There are also two Wednesday matinees at 2 p.m. on May 7 and 28, which include a complimentary tea.

Tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows are $34; Thursday shows are $29, with a $3 discount for seniors. Those aged 30 and under are $20; students are $15. Previews are $20 for adults and seniors and $15 for students. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change. For reservations, call 610-565-4211, or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre is at 64 Rose Valley Road, in Rose Valley (near Media).