Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Sense & Sensibility Scenes

On Easter Monday the sun was blazing down on Jane Austen’s House Museum, which was perfect weather for our first ever outdoor performances. Ruffled Umbrella are a small theatre company who “create theatre that captivates and surrounds an audience”. They performed two scenes from Sense and Sensibility in the garden. The first, adapted from Chapter 2, in which John Dashwood and his wife Fanny discuss whether to give his sisters any financial support after the death of their father. And the second is the heartfelt scene between Elinor Dashwood and Willoughby in Chapter 44 where he desperately tries to justify his behavior towards Marianne.
The audience gently gathered on the grass as the actors began. Dressed in elegant replica costumes the actors immediately took the garden back to Regency England as Elinor Dashwood paced across the lawn in a long swishing skirt. The performances added a fresh and lively dimension to the atmosphere at the house and really brought it to life. It was wonderful to see these intimate dialogues performed so close to the audience and made us feel as though we’d stumbled across a real conversation.

Quote from Chapter 44
"You are very wrong, Mr. Willoughby; very blamable," said Elinor; while her voice, in spite of herself, betrayed her compassionate emotion; "you ought not to speak in this way, either of Mrs. Willoughby or my sister. You had made your own choice. It was not forced on you.”

For more information on future productions and performances by Ruffled Umbrella visit


  1. Pride and Prejudice is a book about life, its main themes are class, love, marriage, family relations and finances.

    What do you think are its themes and which do you consider to be the main ones?

    An article published in the Sunday Times talked about a “computer nicknamed Godot” analysed the themes, the styles and even the grammar of 3.600 novels published between 1780 and 1900. It discovered they had more “Austen DNA”in them than any other writer. Among the 500 significant themes that Godot identified in Pride and Prejudice are manners, kindness, gossip and a sense of household domesticity. These themes are and always will be relevant. There will always be those who are above some, there will always be social status and class as differences in wealth and possessions are inevitable. Therefore I think that Pride and Prejudice would be relevant at any time and its shelf life is infinite. What is your opinion?

    Love conquers all. Love is the most important and strongest feeling in the world. Marriage, family relations and finances will remain aspects of an individual. Pride and Prejudice conveys all of these through its plot and as the plot progresses the readers learn the value of each of these. Two couples, Jane and Bingley, and Darcy and Elizabeth get married after overcoming their pride and prejudice despite being from different social classes. Class did not stand in their way of one fulfilling one’s desires. Darcy and Elizabeth got married because they fell in love with each other, which made them overlook other circumstances.

    Do you think it was easier for Darcy and Bingley to violate crossing class lines to marry than middle class Jane and Elizabeth to do so?

    Mr. and Mrs. Bennet didn’t get married because they were in love with each other. Why do you think they got married?

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

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