|Where Jane Austen died, now a private house, in Winchester|
I love Jane Austen, but it wasn't always so. She was my mother's favorite author, and Pride and Prejudice was her favorite book; that alone was almost enough for me to dislike her. Then I was forced to read Persuasion for my 'A' levels and that clinched it. I didn't want to. Ugh. Jane Austen. Ugh. And because I was a silly 17-year-old, I didn't read it, at least, not properly. Somehow, I managed to pass the exam with a good grade -- better than I deserved, obviously, but not what it could've been.
A few years later, when I was commuting daily by train from Winchester to London and back, and reading several books a week during my two hours a day, ten hours a week, on the train, I happened to finish a book on the journey to London, and had to get something at lunch time for the train home. I found a copy of Persuasion in a second-hand bookshop on the Charing Cross Road, and almost as a joke I bought it and began it while waiting for the train to depart Waterloo Station. I was hooked. Hooked good and proper. Hooked forever. It's now my favorite book.
I've read and/or seen TV or movie productions of everything Jane Austen has given us. Without fail, each time a new version of one of her books comes out, I watch it, critique it, then wish I could be in it. I've dreamed I might be pretty much every character she ever created. I was unsuccessful in earlier auditions, but now, finally, at last, TA DA! -- it's going to happen. Because Austin Playhouse is doing Sense and Sensibility, and director, Lara Toner has cast me!
We had our first read-through last night, and we laughed and laughed because, even before a playwright adapts or reinvents Jane Austen's work, it's funny. It's very funny. It's hilarious. And I may not be Elinor or Marianne or Lucy or Anne or Fanny, but it doesn't matter. I really don't mind. I simply longed to be a part of something Jane Austen, and now I can say that I am. Come join us at the Austin Playhouse, opening Friday, 31 March 2017. I can hardly wait to share it with you all.
|Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen and Kate Hamill|