From Sense & Sensibility Director Eric Tucker:
Jane Austen would love Facebook. She would spend endless hours tweeting her friends all about Edward Ferrars’ newest waistcoat. She’d Instagram and Snapchat her way through London society. She’d thoroughly enjoy watching Mr. Darcy on The Bachelor with a bevy of eligible, young creatures swarming and swooning around him each week.
When commenting on Jane as a teenager, one of her neighbors called her: “the prettiest, silliest, most affected, husband-hunting butterfly she ever remembered.” And although she was liberal with her relationship advice, Jane herself never married.
Somehow, in the end, she managed to write some of the most memorable love stories the world has ever known, and like William Shakespeare himself, her stories have endured the test of time. Like Shakespeare, Austen’s characters are three dimensional, fully formed, magnificent (however flawed) human beings.
Austen’s stories resonate with us today because not all that much has really changed about people. We love gossip and intrigue and celebrity. We fall in love with people we can’t have and people we shouldn’t have and people our parents hate. We find love and lose love and talk about love and dream about love and obsess about love. Some of us have happy endings and some of us don’t. People get married and have babies and spend their lives together after falling in love and sometimes love has nothing to do with it.
So, we’re telling this story, not because Jane Austen would have been a ferocious Tweeter (“if I loved you less I might be able to talk about it more”), but because Jane Austen was writing about all of us for all time. Because she’s insightful and funny and deliciously witty and edgier than we remembered and, in spite of never finding love herself, managed to write one of the best endings a story ever had since Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
I think that if Jane Austen had written plays, they’d sound like this one. And if she were alive, we’d totally be Facebook friends.
Click here to listen to Eric Tucker discuss Sense and Sensibility‘s mobile staging. Recorded at the Haskell Center at the Folger Shakespeare Library, September 15, 2016.