The Story Behind the Photo: "Sense and Sensiblilty"

Tania Thompson
 | Feb 26, 2021
Sense and Sensibility
Rebecca Mozo and Preston Butler III in Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, adapted by Jessica Swale (2018). Photo by Jordan Kubat.

About ​​Sense and Sensibility

The Dashwood sisters—practical Elinor and impulsive Marianne—are of good social standing and marriageable age. When Father dies and their half-brother skimps on their inheritance, they are forced to leave their grand estate for a tiny, cold cottage. Just as life seems its bleakest, a handsome stranger arrives on horseback and the sisters are convinced their futures are secured. Follow Elinor and Marianne as they chase their dreams from Devonshire to London and back in this charming romantic classic

Actor Rebecca Mozo has appeared in nearly one dozen productions at South Coast Repertory—ranging from Doubt, a parable to The Heiress to A Wrinkle in Time and In the Next Room or the vibrator play. In the Jane Austen classic Sense and Sensibility, she played Marianne Dashwood. She She chose this photo [above] as an important moment from the play.

What moment does this depict?

This is a moment of genuine connection. The excitement that floods you when you experience that kind of genuine connection. Willoughby (played by Preston Butler III) has just come to Marianne’s rescue after she injured her ankle while out for a walk on a stormy day. It is their first meeting. Although he is everything she has imagined the perfect man to be, in this moment she is convinced that he is a perfect match for her​: he names her favorite obscure poets as his own favorites! It is the spark of a moment when you realize someone gets you, that they cherish what you cherish. A shared heart.

How did you work to make this moment happen?

Casey Stangl, our director, had a beautifully clear vision for this scene and, in rehearsals, we were able to play around until the moment was found. It was pretty clear when this happened​: that “aha” moment when you feel seen by someone—and that you can see them as clearly as you see yourself. 

What’s the power about this moment?

There’s something incredibly pure about the moment where two people find each other in their own little private club. It’s the spark of acknowledgment that you’ve been starved for and there it is—in front of you—the beauty of beginning a journey with someone. However, the humor in this moment also shows how fleeting, and perhaps silly, those moments can be as well: we throw ourselves at a person before thinking it through, simply because they read the same poets as we do. After all, Jane Austen has created the quintessential “unavailable man” in Willoughby and Marianne cannot resist it. Until she can. 

Anything else you’d like to say about the photo or the production?

​I loved this production. I miss ​South Coast Repertory more than words can truly convey and cannot wait to tread the boards with all of you again.