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Sense and Sensibility wins three provincial awards

Chris Armstrong and Heather Goodall (back left) and Sandi Alaric (front left), Kathleen MacDonald and Jennifer McPhee rehearsing  a scene from the Studio Theatre production of Sense and Sensibility. The play won three major awards at the Mainstage provincial festival awards night in Kamloops Saturday. The play won for best costumes. Alaric won best supporting actress and McPhee won for best youth actress. - Gaeil Farrar photo
Chris Armstrong and Heather Goodall (back left) and Sandi Alaric (front left), Kathleen MacDonald and Jennifer McPhee rehearsing a scene from the Studio Theatre production of Sense and Sensibility. The play won three major awards at the Mainstage provincial festival awards night in Kamloops Saturday. The play won for best costumes. Alaric won best supporting actress and McPhee won for best youth actress.
— image credit: Gaeil Farrar photo

The Studio Theatre’s production of Sense and Sensibility came away with three prestigious awards at the Mainstage provincial drama festival awards night in Kamloops Saturday.

Sandi Alaric, who played Lady Jennings, won for best supporting actress.

Jenny McPhee, who played Marianne Dashwood, won best youth actress (under age 25).

Christa Obergfell won for best costumes.

Director Becky Strickland says the adjudicator, Kathryn Shaw,  also told the cast and crew during their adjudication their sets were inspired. Shaw is the longtime artistic director of Studio 58, and a noted Canadian director and acting instructor in demand across Canada.

“She (Shaw) was really impressed with how Curt Sprickerhoff had developed such a clean-lined set to tell the story,” Strickland says.

“She also really liked the use of the images in the frame and on the trellis. There were many incredible sets this year in the eight plays performed. It was a very tough category.”

Strickland says she was inspired by the works of many of the other plays she saw at the provincial festival and highly recommends the festival.

“As a first time Mainstage director the whole experience was incredible,” says Strickland.

“From walking into a theatre so much bigger than ours and working to create the intimacy we have in our little theatre, to watching my play come to life again in front of an adjudicator and a Kamloops audience, to listening to the encouraging and guiding words of Kathleen the adjudicator during a two hour coffee critique, finally to sitting at the awards banquet and hearing the names of members of my cast and crew get called to receive awards for their amazing work.”

She says the adjudicator, acknowledged the difficulty of staging a Jon Jory play and a classic piece of literature.

“She could see that a great deal of work had been put in by the team to make it a successful production.”

She says the adjudicator felt the actors had a good handle on their characters and that there were many fascinating supporting character roles within the script. In particular she noted Sandi Alaric (Mrs. Jennings), Chris Armstrong (John Dashwood) and Brad Lawryk, (Sir John Middleton) for their work with such strong character roles.

She appreciated the diversity presented within the three lead male roles; Colonel Brandon (Terry Lyons) was stoic and serious, Edward (Colin Sanford) was shy and introverted and Willoughby (Scott Smithson) was charismatic and charming. She felt playing the three men this way clearly showed the diversity within the characters.

Strickland notes that it was Elinor (Kathy Macdonald) and Marianne (Jenny McPhee) whose relationship was the core of the play and Shaw commended the women on being so committed and making their characters so strong.

“At the same time Kathryn presented us with a variety of new ideas to try,” Strickland says.

“She worked with the cast on a number of scenes bringing in new elements and helping the actors see more that could be there.”

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