Jane Austen comes to Docklands
“PLAY UP!” is the rallying cheer for this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Coming to Library at the Dock as part of the festival is a comedic, minimalist reimagining of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility.
Written by Jane Austen Literacy Foundation Ambassador Dr Daniel Widdowson, Sense and Sensibility with 8 Actors & a Door is billed as a “unique, fast-paced and comically energetic interpretation” of the classic novel.
In the play, which aims to convey the story of Sense and Sensibility in 60 minutes, the actors are dressed in simple blacks and utilise only one prop: a door.
Dr Widdowson described to Docklands News how the show fit in to the experimental Fringe cannon.
“We’ve got a unique approach where we’re using a lot of physicality and there’s a lot of humour in the way the actors interact with each other and the way we use the door,” Dr Widdowson said.
“There are some absolutely absurd situations in the story, and we push into all the quirks and all the humour.”
For Sophie Booth, who plays lead role Marianne Dashwood, it is her first play after a long history in musical theatre.
“Marianne’s a favourite character of mine,” Ms Booth told Docklands News. “She really thinks with her heart first and her head later. I can relate to that in some way.”
“I feel like [with plays] you’re a bit more exposed because you have to really feel all the different emotions and especially being Marianne as well – she’s a bit all over the place.”
Melbourne Fringe creative director and CEO Simon Abrahams describes this year’s festival as an opportunity for show-goers to open themselves up to new experiences.
“Melbourne Fringe is quite unique, actually,” Simon Abrahams said. “Globally, in the world of Fringe festivals, we’re not a giant. We are a place for incredible art making.”
Mr Abrahams told Docklands News that “what makes Melbourne Fringe unique is [that] we’ve got artists at the absolute top of their game, making extraordinary work alongside fresh artists trying new things, all on the one bill together.”
The festival, of which more than 80 per cent of events are homegrown in Victoria and made up of 55 per cent LGBTQIA+ artists, celebrates diversity and the vibrancy of being different.
Melbourne Fringe runs throughout October and multiple locations in the city.
Sense & Sensibility with 8 Actors and & a Door runs from October 11 to 13. •