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Jane Austen on Wheels? Yes. And Here Are 8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Miss It.

A bold, vivacious stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s delightful Sense and Sensibility will roll onto the main stage of Portland’s premier playhouse beginning January 12.

Presented by Portland Center Stage December 27, 2018

Sense & Sensibility will star (L-R) Quinlan Fitzgerald as Marianne Dashwood, Chris Murray as John Willoughby, Danea C. Osseni as Elinor Dashwood, Jamie Smithson as Edward Ferrars and Kelly Godell as Lucy Steele.

Image: Kate Szrom

  1. Bedlam mania.

The New York-based theater company Bedlam is a critical darling known for highly physical staging and adventurous takes on classics. Their lauded production of Sense and Sensibility marks the Portland debut of this celebrated company, after their production took audiences by storm in New York and Boston. 

  1. Playwriting prowess.

The writer of this new adaptation is Kate Hamill, one of the hottest playwrights in America. Her insightful takes on Austen have been among the most-produced plays in the country for the past two years. HuffPost boldly praised her Sense and Sensibility as "the greatest stage adaptation of this novel in history.”

  1. Wheels!

Don’t worry, this isn’t a Starlight Express version of Sense and Sensibility. This is a dynamic, muscular staging that puts all the set pieces on wheels. Scenery zipping around on stage adds a snappy pace, heightened dynamic between the characters, and a modern injection of humor. As Theater Mirror wrote, it’s a “rollicking version of the romantic classic that is as intricately choreographed as any musical.”

  1. Raves upon raves.

The New York Times praised Bedlam’s production as an “enchanting romp of a play” and HuffPost called it “blissfully delightful” and “wildly enjoyable, wildly inventive and wildly funny.” But perhaps The Washington Post said it best: “This is how you bring Jane Austen to the stage ... irresistible.” 

  1. Frock coats and cravats.

You know you love your period costumes. From Kate Winslet’s Marianne Dashwood, to Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy, there’s nothing like a lavish period costume to add swoon-worthy flair to your rom-com. This production will have all the regency silhouettes you love with a few contemporary twists.

  1. Early feminism.

Jane Austen was a ferocious social critic whose stories gave women power when their social circumstances didn’t. Kate Hamill carries this torch with her adaptation, mining Austen’s tenacity and humor to lift up women today: “I wanted to create women-centered narratives, told through a female gaze,” said Hamill, noting that the popularity of Sense and Sensibility is a “testament to how many people are hungering for female-centered stories.” 

  1. Castle-like setting.

Let’s face it. There’s no better place to see theater than The Armory. The building is a stunning, castle-like historic gem that’s been refurbished in an eco-friendly manner. The main stage has the coziest seats in town and was built to replicate the size and scope of a Broadway stage. It’s the perfect setting for a classic story with a contemporary edge.

  1. Austen-themed cocktails.

Going to the theater isn’t just about the show. It’s an event. You get to invite your smartest friends and don your favorite velvet suit from Wild Fang (or sweats, this is Portland after all). When your pre-show cocktail is inspired by the story on stage and hand-crafted with local ingredients, you have the makings of a perfect evening. 

Don’t miss Sense and Sensibility running at The Armory from January 12 — February 10. More information can be found at https://www.pcs.org/sense.