When Josh first proposed that we collaborate to adapt Sense and Sensibility, I had only read one Jane Austen novel, Emma, and felt ambivalent at best.  I didn’t see myself as “the Jane Austen type.”  Sense and Sensibility, however, captured me.  I was entranced by the empathy and conflicts between sisters Elinor and Marianne and by their combination of power and powerlessness in the world that surrounds them.  How could I make the story accessible to a modern-day audience, keep it to a suitable length, and have fun while remaining loyal to Austen’s wonderful work?

The answer lay in the relationships among the characters.  Josh and I discussed them extensively, considering both Austen’s perspective and our own.  (For example, Austen is much more sympathetic to the rogue Willoughby than I am inclined to be!) Group dynamics are some of the most fascinating to write, as in the scene below, where the Dashwoods dine at Barton for the first time.

Read Scene Act I Scene 5, Part I.

This shows the complex relationships among Sir John, Mrs Jennings, and the Dashwood family, and also shows the beginnings of Colonel Brandon falling in love with Marianne.

After Marianne sings “First Love,” with a rather confused audience (check our Music page to listen!), Colonel Brandon makes overtures to express his amazement, and Mrs Jennings shows her inexhaustible appetite for gossip.

Read Scene Act I Scene 5, Part 2.