Dramatic Arts

‘Sense and Sensibility’ Tells Tale of Life and Love

The Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s production of “Sense and Sensibility” is full of movement, with short scenes and shifting locations that make it feel cinematic, according to director Kristin Wold.

The constantly changing nature of the Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel is a natural fit for Wold, assistant professor-in-residence for performance, who teaches acting and stage movement in UConn’s Department of Dramatic Arts.

“The way that it’s written is very cinematic. The scenes tend to be pretty short. We’re changing location constantly,” she says. “How to tell a story in that way on stage has been part of the fun and challenge of working on it. We wanted to make sure to get the depth of the characters when we’re moving so quickly. It’s a pretty epic story. I think that happens all the time when you adapt. How do you tell a novel in a two-hour event and do it justice? I think we get the depth of who they are.”

Based on Austen’s popular novel, a staple of English literature classes that is centered on romance, emotion, and reason in a family, the CRT production opened Feb. 25 and will be performed at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre through March 6.

Guest artist Cynthia Darlow (Mrs. Jennings) and Jenn Sapozhnikov, '17 (SFA) (Mrs. Palmer) in the CRT production of 'Sense and Sensibility,' now playing at the Harriet Jorgensen Theatre. (Gerry Goodstein for UConn)
Guest artist Cynthia Darlow (Mrs. Jennings) and Jenn Sapozhnikov, ’17 (SFA) (Mrs. Palmer) in the CRT production of ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ now playing at the Harriet Jorgensen Theatre. (Gerry Goodstein for UConn)

The central roles of the Dashwood sisters are played by second-year MFA acting candidate Arlene Bozich as Elinor and senior acting student Susannah Resnikoff ’16 (SFA) as Marianne. The cast features special guest artists Cynthia Darlow as Mrs. Jennings and Don Noble as Sir John Middleton/Henry Dashwood. Darlow is a founding member of American Repertory Theatre with Broadway roles in “Billy Elliot,” “Accent on Youth,” “Rabbit Hole,” and “Prelude to a Kiss,” among others. Noble is a Broadway veteran whose credits include “Once” and “The End of the Rainbow” and the National Tour of “Mamma Mia!”.

Wold says one of the challenges of this stage version of “Sense and Sensibility” is the large number of characters in the story as written by Hanreddy and Sullivan, who were also the writing team behind CRT’s well received production of “Pride & Prejudice.” The playwrights developed a script for professional theaters that allows dual roles for 13 actors, but in order to provide additional acting experiences for students, in the CRT production there are 21 actors.

The director notes that one of the challenges for some of the student actors is that they are portraying much older characters in the story, requiring them to expand their nonverbal acting skills.

To read the entire article, visit UConn Today!

“Sense and Sensibility” will be performed at the Harriet Jorgensen Theatre in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, 2132 Hillside Road, Storrs, on Feb. 26, Feb. 27, March 4, and March 5 at 8 p.m.; and on March 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m.; with matinees on March 5 and March 6 at 2 p.m. For more information, go to the Connecticut Repertory Theatre website.

CRT’s ‘Twelfth Night’ Makes a Classic Play Contemporary

Victor Maog, who is directing the Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” laughs when asked about the expectations people may have after American Theatre magazine cited him as one of the “20 Theatre Professionals to Watch.”

Director Victor Maog
Director Victor Maog

“I’m happy to be in [the magazine],” says Maog, the artistic director of Second Generation Productions in New York City, which cultivates Asian American theater, “but I will back it up with my 20 years of experience. It’s nice to have the spotlight.”

Maog has established a reputation as an award-winning director who bridges the world of theater with diverse communities, audiences, and industries. He has led productions in major institutions in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as non-traditional projects in Chicago’s south side and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. His directing work includes plays such as “The Tempest,” “Blood Wedding,” “The Visit,” and “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” and musical theater including “Spring Awakening,” “Ragtime,” “Sweeney Todd,” and “The Secret Garden.”

“I’m not working any differently [at CRT] than I would in any other place,” he says. “There is the same sort of rigor, same sort of expectation behind it.”

The main challenge, Maog says, is “How do we make the classic also contemporary? How do we make a play we’ve seen one way also inclusive and accessible? Let’s make the Shakespeare of today.”

To read the entire article, visit UConn Today!

“Twelfth Night” will be performed from Dec. 3 to Dec. 13. Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Select matinee performances start at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information go to the CRT website.

Arlene Bozich, foreground, MFA candidate in acting, and Kevin Hilversum ’16 (SFA), in the Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s production of ‘Twelfth Night’ by William Shakespeare. (Gerry Goodstein for UConn)
Arlene Bozich, foreground, MFA candidate in acting, and Kevin Hilversum ’16 (SFA), in the Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s production of ‘Twelfth Night’ by William Shakespeare. (Gerry Goodstein for UConn)

Day in the Life: Puppet Arts Major John Cody and the Art of Trickery

The Daily Campus

The Puppet Arts Program is one of the University of Connecticut’s rare treasures. The women’s basketball team consistently makes headlines, but the distance UConn conquers basketball is peanuts to how far it dominates puppetry. Fifth-semester puppet arts major John Cody, whose previous work has included an eight-foot-tall Captain Condom mascot, explains his passion for the art form:

Cody has previously done work “wrangling mascots” for DreamWorks’ “Penguins of Madagascar” at Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Zoo. The job’s duties, Cody said, included “helping the actors put on the costumes, making sure they don’t break, repairing them if they do break, and making sure kids don’t punch them.”

“What’s fun about mascots is they have this element of fantasy to reality,” Cody added. “It’s this totally bizarre thing: a giant penguin who can’t move his face or talk just in the middle of the Bronx Zoo.”

UConn’s Student Health Services approached Cody and puppet arts graduate student Anatar Marmol-Gagne to assemble their “Stall Street News” character Captain Condom. Cody designed a maquette (a miniature model) and then built the full-size mascot while learning along the way.



New Puppet Arts Online Grad Certificate

The University of Connecticut’s Puppet Arts program is the premier puppetry program in the United States. To share that expertise UConn’s School of Fine Arts, Department of Dramatic Arts, is offering a Puppet Arts Online Graduate Certificate that applies the art of puppetry to a wide range of professions, including visual and dramatic artists, teachers in formal and non-formal educational settings, recreation directors, and media and marketing specialists.

The Puppet Arts Online Graduate Certificate provides students with hands-on skills and experience constructing puppets, designing and directing a puppet production and applying puppet arts to a wide range of disciplines and professions. Opportunities for students to apply and share their learnings to discipline-specific applications – whether they are artists, educators, marketing artists, or other professionals – are provided throughout each course.

More information is available at Graduate Certificate page.

Puppet Festival: A Homecoming of Alumni

In the 50 years since legendary puppeteer Frank Ballard started teaching puppetry classes in UConn’s School of Fine Arts, alumni of the Puppet Arts Program have performed on Broadway, in films, on television, and on stages worldwide.

Many of these alums will return to campus this week among the more than 500 puppeteers from across the country and around the world who will attend professional workshops, participate in panel discussions, and present performances as part of the 2015 National Puppetry Festival, kicking off celebrations for the half-century of UConn puppet arts.

The entire article is available at UConn Today!

The Puppeteers of America on parade from South Campus to Storrs Downtown on Aug. 15, 2015. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)