By Elyana Schosek, Student Reporter
The sophomores in Mrs. Diane Waterman’s Honors English class were presented with the opportunity last week to go on a field trip to the Andrew’s Theater in Buffalo to see a production of “Sense and Sensibility.”
“Sense and Sensibility” is a play by Kate Hamill that is based on the novel by Jane Austen.
For those who are not familiar with the plot of this story, it follows the three Dashwood sisters and their widowed mother in 18th century England.
After the death of their father, they are left with almost nothing due to the patriarchal aspects of their society. Women have little rights especially in regard to property.
“The audience was all around the stage so the performers had to be constantly rotating so everyone in the audience could see,” said Blaze Schelble.
Jaime Dickinson said, “It was a super plain and basic set, so it was interesting to see them make use of a person’s imagination to create the scene of the play with very limited physical set.”
“I liked how they only used a few chairs and tables for props because it forced us to use our imaginations more,” added Sara Ehlers. Nathan Cudney noted something similar, adding that it allowed you to “be even more engaged in the play.”
In regard to the set-up of the theater, Marin Lehr said, “You feel almost as if you were a part of what was going on.”
Cameron Denny mentioned that “Almost all of the time, everybody watching had a good view of all the characters throughout the play.”
“I really liked how they made use of the limited props,” said Keaton Wnuk. “They moved them around frequently, and by doing so they were able to create different settings that felt different and made the play feel more fluid and not stationary.”
All of the students felt that this was a good experience, although they all had their own reasonings.
“We got to experience what Mrs. Waterman teaches us,” said Mikey Evans.
“While most high schoolers, probably all of us, don’t jump on the idea of reading an old-timey Jane Austen book, a play is a better way to introduce her writings to us that we can find more interesting,” added Jaime Dickinson.
“It definitely was a good learning experience for both the theater aspect and the historical aspect,” said Olivia Giammarco. “It was very interesting to see the actors using such unique means of production.”
“It helped us to get a visual of what it would be like to live in a time where a patriarchal society existed,” Blaze Schelble mentioned. “It shows how unfair things were back in this time.”
“It got us out of the classroom to actually experience what you’re learning, it also helps to make connections to what we’re learning,” Ben Sullivan added.
“It’s interesting to see different views from different time periods and locations and try to relate to their situations,” said Keaton Wnuk. “It was nice to get out of school and relax a bit while still learning about literature,” he added.
“It was definitely good for us. Some people have never seen a play before and Jane Austen is a great writer, so it was an interesting play of course,” said Sam Gottstine.
Mrs. Waterman added to this, saying, “Most students have yet to read one of Austen’s novels, but through the performance were able to experience her. By experiencing the play, students were able to enjoy her witty banter, complex plot and interesting character development.”
“It was a good experience because of how it was so different from other musicals or plays we see,” mentioned Marin Lehr. “The interaction and set-up of the room was different than looking at one stage.”
“We were able to learn a lot about the time and the difference between men and women and how money played a role in everything like Mrs. Waterman taught us,” said Annemarie Harrigan.
“It was a different setting away from the classroom yet still educational,” added Julie Bartoszek. “The structure of the theater was really interactive and made us feel like a part of the play even from sitting in our seats.”
Along with that, Mrs. Waterman said she feels this was a good experience for her students.
“Students experienced a theater in the round style performance distinct to the Irish Classic Theater,” she said, adding that this play was chosen because it was written by “one of the great classic British writers, Jane Austen.”
Additionally, Jane Austen being a classic author allowed the students to “further enrich their experiences with literature and performance.”
Mrs. Waterman said, “Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’ offers a rich literary experience that is paired with humor and irony. Teenagers easily relate to the romance, gossip, friendship and social pressures developed within the play.”