Strong student cast making 'Sense' at Beloit Memorial High Theater

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  • From left, Beloit Memorial High School students Abigail Grenawalt, Leilani Schaller and Autumn Jones rehearse a scene from their upcoming theatre rendition based on the Jane Austen novel, "Sense and Sensibility." The trio play the roles of beleaguered Dashwood sisters Margaret, Elinor and Marianne.

  • 1

    Autumn Jones, portraying character Marianne Dashwood in "Sense and Sensibility," reacts to tragic news during a rehearsal on the stage of Beloit Memorial High School's theater.

  • 2

    Beloit Memorial High School theatre students JT White and Leilani Schaller rehearse lines of dialogue for their upcoming school play, "Sense and Sensibility."

  • 3

    Beloit Memorial High School students JT White and Anna Olson rehearse lines of dialogue for their upcoming theatrical rendition of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility."

  • 4

    A group of Beloit Memorial High School theatre students rehearse a scene from their school play based on Jane Austen's novel, titled "Sense and Sensibility."

  • 5

    A group of Beloit Memorial High School theatre students rehearse a scene from their upcoming school play, "Sense and Sensibility."

  • From left, Beloit Memorial High School students Abigail Grenawalt, Leilani Schaller and Autumn Jones rehearse a scene from their upcoming theatre rendition based on the Jane Austen novel, "Sense and Sensibility." The trio play the roles of beleaguered Dashwood sisters Margaret, Elinor and Marianne.

  • 1

    Autumn Jones, portraying character Marianne Dashwood in "Sense and Sensibility," reacts to tragic news during a rehearsal on the stage of Beloit Memorial High School's theater.

  • 2

    Beloit Memorial High School theatre students JT White and Leilani Schaller rehearse lines of dialogue for their upcoming school play, "Sense and Sensibility."

  • 3

    Beloit Memorial High School students JT White and Anna Olson rehearse lines of dialogue for their upcoming theatrical rendition of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility."

  • 4

    A group of Beloit Memorial High School theatre students rehearse a scene from their school play based on Jane Austen's novel, titled "Sense and Sensibility."

  • 5

    A group of Beloit Memorial High School theatre students rehearse a scene from their upcoming school play, "Sense and Sensibility."

A group of gossipy side characters might use terms like "absurd" and "how undignified" -- or something along those lines -- to describe events on stage at an upcoming school play.

Theater-goers who enjoy historical themes and fashion are in for a treat full of humor and wit.

A cast and crew of about 30 to 35 Beloit Memorial High School theatre students are rehearsing to put on a rendition of Kate Hamill's play, "Sense and Sensibility," based on a Jane Austen novel by the same title.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14-16, and a final show will be at 2 p.m. Nov. 17. It costs $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Seating is limited.

Set in the late 1700s in gossipy England, "Sense and Sensibility" offers a humorous and bold performance full of emotion and bits of British-inspired quirkiness. The play chronicles the plights of the three Dashwood sisters after their father's unexpected death and related family strife leaves them in peril.

Theater Director Greg Wallendal said he chose this play because it features strong, leading female cast members.

"I feel they need to be represented," Wallendal said.

The students study history, language dialects, character dialogue and rehearse for two hours every night as they naturally become experts of the script.

"It's kind of a fun house version of the story," Wallendal said. "I'm incredibly proud of them. The kids just dive into these characters and relationships so much."

Leilani Schaller, a senior, said in order to immerse herself into the mindset of her character, Elinor Dashwood, she practices dance rhythms and tries to hone a convincing accent.

"I just kind of remind myself of the different traits that I should have," Schaller said.

Autumn Jones, a junior, portrays sensitive character Marianne Dashwood. She said her favorite scene involves Marianne's male suitor renouncing his intent to marry her, which erupts into a howling fit of sadness and heartbreak.

"She reminds me of when I was a little kid," Jones said. "She's very emotional, and she likes the lovey stuff."

Fueled by teamwork with his fellow cast members and the occasional energy drink, senior Tiyler Alf said he enjoys jumping into the highly energetic persona of Sir John Middleton, a source of comic relief and distant relative who tries to help the troubled Dashwood sisters and their beloved, widowed mother. "It's very boisterous. You don't expect it. You don't expect the energy," Alf said.

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