Jory has returned to Louisville to direct his script, which he describes as “one long piece of choreography, accompanied by dialogue.” With 50 scene changes in two one-hour acts, it’s a bit dizzying to watch.
But once you catch the speed of transitions, Jory’s fluid direction of an able cast makes this a fine reduction of a lengthy novel.
The story focuses on Elinor Dashwood (Nancy Lemenager), who is rational, reserved and reasonable (the “sense” of the title), and her younger sister Marianne (Helen Sadler), impetuous, opinionated and romantic (full of “sensibility” as it was termed in the 19th century). The men in Jory’s adaptation are less interesting, but the sisters’ mother (Penny Slusher), eager to see her daughters “situated,” and Mrs. Middleton (Wendy Robie), a doting woman of wealth who takes on their advancement, add vivacity and humor to the story’s telling.
Jory has reduced other characters somewhat (another sister is perpetually offstage, involved in some mischief), but his script captures the essence of Austen’s novel — wry wit, heartfelt emotions, comic moments tempered with deeper feelings — by focusing on the ebb and flow between two sisters in their affairs of the heart.
SENSE & SENSIBILITY, presented by Actors Theatre of Louisville, continues through Sept. 24.