For two weekends in Octobers, the WSU theater department presented “Sense and Sensibility,” a play based on Jane Austen’s classic tale. Director Jennifer Kokai chose to portray Kate Hamill’s adaptation.
“I picked this adaptation because it’s fast paced and fun. It also doesn’t take itself too seriously,” Kokai said. “I liked that Hamill emphasizes on the relationship between the two sisters, Marianne and Elinor. Most adaptations focus on the romance, and while there is romance in it, the heart is at the sister’s relationship.”
Kokai said the sister’s relationship is a vital story to tell, especially for a college-age audience.
“Sometimes when you’re in college, your romantic relationships don’t necessarily work out, but your relationships with your friends and your family are the crucial relationships that keep us going, even if you’re disappointed with life or love,” Kokai said.
Kokai set out to find versatile actors for the production. She said there were individuals who played roles that were vastly different than the actual actors.
Liberty Lockett, a junior at WSU majoring in theater teaching, played the role of Elinor Dashwood. Lockett grew up in a sports-involved family but was 10 years old when she realized how powerful theater was.
“I love how in theater the possibilities are endless,” Lockett said. “You can take a basic show, change it up a bit but still have that classic show feeling.”
Lockett credited Kokai as one of her motivators that pushed her to audition.
Kokai believes in diversity within the program and showcasing that on stage. At the bottom of each audition form, there was a statement saying that casting was not based off race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disabilities.
“That was honestly the first time I saw that on an audition form, and that means a lot because there’s always shows that you don’t see yourself in, whether it’s the time period or the characters in it,” Lockett said.
Lockett, who is of mixed-race, said seeing the statement on the audition form exemplified what was truly important within WSU theater.
“For me seeing that, it meant that all that’s really important is just all about talent and work ethic,” Lockett said. “I’m hoping that I can be an example for other minority students in the department, and they know that they can audition and do it too.”