Get to Know the Mega-Talented and Wildly Funny Guys of Bedlam’s Sense & Sensibility

August 30th, 2016 by

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Get to Know the Mega-Talented and Wildly Funny Guys of Be...

The must-see show off-Broadway right now is Bedlam's critically-acclaimed production of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility. It's inventive, incredibly staged and well-acted, and totally unforgettable. BroadwayBox caught up with the cast to hear from each them about game-changing literature, pop culture relationship goals, and powerful theatrical experiences. First, Broadwaybox heard from the ladies, and now it's the gentlemen's turn.

CARMAN LACIVITA (Colonel Brandon)

CARMAN LACIVITA (Colonel Brandon)- Sense and Sensibility

1. What moment brings you most joy each night?
For me it would have to be the first time we circle up to dance while we are in our period underwear. We are skipping around in a circle holding hands, breathing, smiling, and it makes me feel a number of things, but mostly joy.

2. What line from the show do you find yourself thinking about most outside the theatre?
"To your sister I wish all imaginable happiness, to Willoughby, that he may endeavor to deserve her."

3. Who in the cast makes you laugh most?
That’s very hard because this cast is extremely funny.  I think I would have to say Laura who plays Lucy Steele and Fanny Dashwood.  She kills me.

4. Piece of literature that completely rocked your world the first time you read it?
Johnny Tremain and The Diary of Anne Frank.  So much pain and bravery.

5. Fictional love story that is totally #RelationshipGoals?
Kermit and Miss Piggy? Bert and Ernie?

6. Tell me about an experience you’ve had as an audience member that you’ll never forget:
Seeing Janet McTeer in London in A Doll’s House.  She was so beautiful. Everything about the performance had so much beauty to it.  The anguish, her need for love, the internal struggles she was processing through character was mind-blowing not to mention the way she spoke and moved around the stage.  It all had such beauty to it. That performance still stands for me as one of the best I’ve ever seen.

JASON O’CONNELL (Edward Ferrars/Robert Ferrars)

JASON O’CONNELL (Edward Ferrars/Robert Ferrars)- Sense and Sensibility- Bedlam

1. What line from the show do you find yourself thinking about most outside the theatre?
It's a line I say to Elinor at the end of the play—"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more." I think it's so beautiful, and a perfect thing for Edward to say, as he's so shy and awkward and halting in his speech throughout the play. It's actually not a line from the novel, but it is Austen (it's from Emma), and I remember thinking about it after the very first reading of the play ever, more than four years ago. I was walking to the subway thinking about how gorgeous the line was and hoping I'd get to say it in an actual production someday.

2. How does your performance change or grow as the run goes on?
Hopefully, it deepens without losing consistency. Edward is a very potent presence in the story, but his appearances are spread out over the course of the play. I try to find new details and add specificity with every performance. I try to keep making fresh discoveries, and to surprise myself in the moment. But these are very small things, and they probably wouldn't be noticeable to most people. In the case of Robert, Edward's brother, I am allowed to go pretty far over the top, and I even have room to improvise a tiny bit. I wouldn't say that Robert has changed in any one direction over time, but different personality traits get emphasized more on different nights. Sometimes he's more of a boor, sometimes he's more of a letch, some nights he's too drunk to stand (usually he's all three)!

3. Who in the cast makes you laugh most?
That's a tricky one. My girlfriend, Kate Hamill, is both the playwright and Marianne Dashwood, and she's one of the funniest people I know. But I also get lots of time outside the theatre to find her funny. I'd have to say that backstage, Stephan Wolfert makes me laugh the most, and onstage, Samantha Steinmetz as Ann Steele SLAYS me on a regular basis.

4. Piece of literature that completely rocked your world the first time you read it?
A Confederacy of Dunces. Funniest, craziest novel I've ever read.

5. Tell me about an experience you’ve had as an audience member that you’ll never forget:
Several years ago, I saw Geoffrey Rush in Ionesco's Exit the King on Broadway. The performance was unlike anything I'd ever seen. He was such a masterful clown in one moment, and so devastatingly moving in the next. It was a very surprising performance, and the type of thing I aspire to in my own work. But the very end of the play— in which he is walked through the final steps of his mortality—was exquisitely powerful, and I was one of maybe 50 or so people who couldn't leave their seats when the play was over. We just sat there, many still crying, absorbing what we'd just shared together. I'll never forget that.

6. Fictional love story that is totally #RelationshipGoals?
Han Solo and Princess Leia. I like spunky, sassy girls (and I desperately want to be as cool as Harrison Ford).

JOHN RUSSELL (John Dashwood/John Willoughby)

JOHN RUSSELL (John Dashwood/John Willoughby)- Sense and Sensibility

1. What moment brings you most joy each night?
I find the most joy in observing how tickled and moved audiences are by this show. I love watching couples turn to each other with a chuckle during the horse bit, and of course seeing people wipe away a tear at the end.

2. Who in the cast makes you laugh most?
Jason, no question. Lately, he's taken to incorporating one of Trump's outrageous sound bites into his entrance as Robert Ferrars, to great effect. The two have a lot in common.

3. What do you hear most often from people after they’ve seen Sense & Sensibility?
"I'm coming back and I'm bringing more friends!"

4. What line from the show do you find yourself thinking about most outside the theatre?
"A woman of thirty can never hope to feel or inspire affection again!" Always gets a laugh from some, while others take it in solemnly. I love watching the way audiences react to references to the societal norms of Austen's day—another good one is Edward's "I am to rise high in the world, but I must have no profession—that would be too common."

5. Fictional love story that is totally #RelationshipGoals?
I have two answers for this one. True Romance (1993) is one of the most enjoyable cinematic adventures ever and Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette are great together. Amour, the 2012 French film, is harder to watch, but I cannot recommend it enough.

6. Tell me about an experience you’ve had as an audience member that you’ll never forget:
While I was home from college during winter break one year, my mom and I went to see Uncle Vanya at A.R.T. in Cambridge. The Hungarian director János Szász took some bold, expressionist liberties; the country estate was in this production a run-down tavern complete with a chrome bar stocked with vodka, and subtext was translated into action, such as when Vanya tipped Serebryakov out of his wheelchair or when Astrov got a drink thrown in his face for getting too cozy with Yelena. But what I remember most vividly was a moment when the roof of the tavern collapsed and the conversation was halted when a wall of water suddenly appeared in front of and on top of the cast. Hundreds of gallons must have poured onto the stage, carefully choreographed by the set designer. It was a breathtaking bit of theatrical magic, and the only information from the text that informed it was the storm brewing outside. I'll never forget it.

STEPHAN WOLFERT (Sir John Middleton)

STEPHAN WOLFERT (Sir John Middleton)- Sense and Sensibility

1. What line from the show do you find yourself thinking about most outside the theatre?
“Money determines more than you might wish…”

2. What moment brings you most joy each night?
The opening dance! No matter what my day has been like I, like the audience, get to escape the real world and do what I love most in life with people I love.

3. How does your performance change or grow as the run goes on?
Hopefully it does just that, “grows”. No matter what the role, I love the craft of acting so much that I never bore from rehearsing, or deepening my work/the character, and finding more truth, nuance and subtlety… yes, ME searching for subtlety, but it’s true.

4. Piece of literature that completely rocked your world the first time you read it?
The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen. His writings from the trenches of WWI continually haunt me… and frankly should be read by everyone who decides or votes on when and where we go to war.

5. Tell me about an experience you’ve had as an audience member that you’ll never forget:
Shakespeare’s Richard III. It rocked me so much that I left the Army to go to graduate school to become a classical actor.

6. Fictional love story that is totally #RelationshipGoals?
Practical Magic. But I achieved it! I imagined the perfect woman and found her in my wife, Dawn Stern.

See these guys crushing it in the unforgettable production of 'Sense and Sensibility' at off-Broadway's Gym at Judson through November 20.