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"A light-hearted and often amusing evening which casts a very different light on the author from the traditional idea of the writer as a dowdy spinster. Unkind, scurrilous, non-PC; no wonder her sister censored some of Jane's correspondence!" - New Quorndon Shakespeare Company

"Truly a labour of love for the author and her works... a celebration of the author’s life" - All Edinburgh Theatre.Com

"A fascinating picture of a genius who totally understood the narrow world she lived in and the people who inhabited it.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening in the company of a woman who might arguably be called the first truly feminist writer
" - Loughborough Echo

"Austensibility is a charming, educational and fun show. It's comprehensive, interesting and well-researched. I really enjoyed hearing bits of Austen’s early, unpublished work, which, though unpolished, still carries her distinctively tongue-in-cheek tone of voice"- BroadwayBaby

"Excellent professional production… Slick and confident… Brilliant… Highly entertaining… Wonderful evening…" - Audience comments
(Llandinam Drama Group)

Austensibility
A Dramatised reading

  • First staged as Universally Acknowledged by the Mercators at the 2004 Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  • Extensively revised as Austensibility for the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  • 8 Productions in the UK and Canada
  • The script is available in two versions with running times of 80 minutes and 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Script and performing rights available from the author

Cast
The current script is configured for 9 readers - 4 male, 4 female and a narrator (M or F), but numbers can be easily adapted to suit

Staging
Can be very adaptable. A row of chairs is all that is required. A lectern could be added with other furnishings to suit. Dramatic readings are particularly ideal for non-theatrical venues and as touring productions

Synopsis

Austensibility is devised to be staged as a dramatised reading (also called a rehearsed reading – where scripts are used by the cast). One great advantage of this type of script is that cast numbers can be adapted by re-allocating the lines to suit your own requirements. For example; in the first production, the same female reader (F1 in the script) read all the words of Jane Austen herself and acted some of the younger roles in the extracts such as Catherine Morland and Jane Bennet. In another production, two actresses played the younger and older Jane. The Narrator can be one reader throughout or shared. Some groups added musicians and singers. Although scripts are used, performers should be confidently familiar with the text, and there are sequences that will obviously work better without scripts.

The script is drawn from many of the excellent biographies available, particularly those by David Nokes, Park Honan and Claire Tomalin. Another valuable source was A Memoir of Jane Austen by her nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh. Her own letters also provide a wonderful source.  Extracts include not only her popular novels such as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, Emma and Persuasion, but many lesser-known works which can surprise even those who think they know their Jane Austen.


Austensibility is a performance piece. Inevitably, some "licence" has been taken for dramatic purposes, particularly in the extracts from the novels, which have been, in the words of J.A., “lop’t and crop’t”. Please note that in the extracts from the letters and novels, some of the original punctuation and spelling has been retained.