Live theatre is back with Sense and Sensibility

Live+theatre+is+back+with+Sense+and+Sensibility

Ms. Lexi Goyette

For the first time since March 2020, live theatre is in full swing at Monomoy. The fall production of Sense and Sensibility will bring much-needed laughs to the high school auditorium.

Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility is one of her most prolific works. The novel tells the story of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as they experience heartbreak and love in Regency Era England. It’s a story about romance, but more so about a family coming together despite all their differences.

Directed by English teacher Ms. Barnes, the MRHS production works with Kate Hamill’s adaptation of the play. She chose to work with this particular script because of the energy in Hamill’s writing. “It moves,” Barnes explained.

Working alongside Ms. Barnes is Charlie Clute, a well-known name in the Monomoy theatre department. Clute, a former theatre educator, joined the MRHS community almost a decade ago, helping the drama club bring their shows to life. He is working as the assistant director and dramaturg for Sense and Sensibility.

Our fearless leaders: director Rachel Barnes and assistant director/dramaturg Charlie Clute.

Also working on the show is technical director Lillian McMurrer. A recent Monomoy graduate, McMurrer has returned after working in professional theatre. “We’re happy to have her return to us,” Ms. Barnes enthused.

Costume designer Molly Doval also has roots on the Lower Cape. She graduated from Chatham High School before attending the Lasell school of fashion. MRHS senior Jarrett Strzepek is working alongside Doval in creating dynamic Regency Era creations.

Ms. Barnes gives blocking notes as the cast listens intently.

When asked what the most challenging part of the production has been thus far, Ms. Barnes pointed at her mask, with no hesitation. “Acting is all about emoting. If you’re missing your face, you’re missing half the story,” she explained.

Clute had an optimistic take on the matter of mask-wearing. Because he has worked with young actors for decades, he understands one area they often struggle with: projecting one’s voice across an auditorium. Student actors have to project their voices even louder with a mask on, but, as Clute pointed out, this practice will make them better actors in the long run.

The production of Sense and Sensibility is a breath of fresh air during COVID times. Although the show must adhere to some limiting COVID guidelines — mask-wearing and a social-distanced audience, to name a few — everyone involved is optimistic.

This isn’t the first time the drama club has shown resilience in the COVID era. After the devastating cancellation of Les Miserables in the spring of 2020, the theatre department preserved what they could from their hard work by recording and posting individual actors’ performances on YouTube.

In the spring of 2021, Barnes, Clute and a group of passionate cast and crew put on a virtual performance of Alice in Wonderland. The production involved creative and strategic stage directions that transformed the computer screen into a stage.

Though the drama club has been known to turn lemons into lemonade, it’s a unanimous opinion that theatre was made to be experienced live. “There’s nothing like being in the presence of actors,” Clute said with zeal.

The performance dates of Sense and Sensibility are Thursday through Saturday, November 18, 19 and 20.

John Dashwood (Finn Dyer, ‘25) spreads gossip.
Elinor talks about her sister with Colonel Brandon (Leyla Holmes, ‘25).
The Dashwood sisters, Lucy Steele (Dahlia Viprino, ‘24) and Robert Ferrars (Tyler Gula, ‘22) discuss the current state of affairs.