A Director Gets Lost in Austen: Four Questions with Casey Stangl

Beth Fhaner
 | Aug 13, 2018
Casey Stangl at First Rehearsal

Director Casey Stangl discusses the play and designs with the cast and SCR staff on the first day of rehearsal for Sense and Sensibility.

Casey Stangl

Casey Stangl

Sister Act

Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility features the Dashwood sisters—practical Elinor and impulsive Marianne, as well as their younger sister Margaret. This charming, romantic classic has captivated legions of Austen’s readers throughout the years and made it a favorite novel for many. Austen’s millions of fans worldwide have most likely enjoyed the Academy Award-winning 1995 film adaptation starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, too. In keeping with the theme of sisterhood, check out the following links to discover more great films about sisters:

Director Casey Stangl was last here at SCR with Wendy Wasserstein’s delightful comedy The Sisters Rosensweig, which closed out the 2017-18 season on the Segerstrom Stage. We’re thrilled that Stangl has returned to help launch our new season on the Segerstrom Stage with an exciting adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

We caught up with Stangl for a few minutes between rehearsals to get her thoughts on this upcoming production of one of Austen’s most beloved novels.

As a director, what draws you to Jane Austen stories in general? To Sense and Sensibility?
I love Jane Austen's combination of sly humor and the feminist perspective in all her work. With Sense and Sensibility, there is a question of how do we find a balance between the heart and the head? Women are traditionally considered to be the emotional ones, ruled by our feelings and lacking in analytical skills and judgement. But Sense and Sensibility presents us with richly complicated characters.

What makes this production a must-see?
A very diverse cast will bring a focus to the humanity of the characters and the universal quality of the story and give the show a contemporary feel within the period setting. The design will reflect that with a spare elegant set, furniture on wheels, mood enhancing projections and period costumes that will tie it all together.

What's special about Jessica Swale’s adaptation?
It is highly theatrical and cinematic with fast switches between locations and doubling and tripling of characters. The adaptation beautifully captures Austen's humor and heart and tells the story in a fast-moving and delightful way.

What do you hope audiences will be talking about after seeing the show?
We all seek to be connected to each other and some of us lean into our feelings and some of us lean into our reason. Both are valid and the best relationships lie when that is celebrated.

Learn more about Sense and Sensibility and buy tickets.