Expecting Something Big With ‘Little Women’

From left, Amanda Meleen, Zoey Foley, Lynn Schaffer, and Makenna Graham rehearse a scene from the play Little Women. P-J photo by Michael Zabrodsky

“Every night it’s like painting a picture from your mind onto the stage.”

That is the reason Adam Hughes likes directing.

Hughes also was quick to note that, as a director, he gets to work with actors and help them form their performances, and help guide them to fulfilling his vision for the show.

Hughes is directing “Little Women” which will be performed at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown, 18 E. Second St.

Alcott, (1832-1888) first published Little Women in 1868. Alcott also was noted for her poetry as well as short stories.

According to lucilleballlittletheatre.org, the story of Little Women, Louisa M. Alcott’s novel, is so well known and so well loved that it is hardly surprising that many attempts have been made to portray its characters upon the stage. None has yet been so successful, however, as this brilliant dramatization by Peter Clapham. The structure of the play faithfully covers that of the novel, interweaving the lives of the March girls, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, and Laurie, the boy next door, as they grow up happily together, yet the action is contained neatly in one set. All the overtones of gaiety and the undertones of sadness are here, bringing the story completely to life in a way which is both accurate and dramatically satisfying.

“I think it’s a classic story, but it’s also a timeless story,” Hughes said. “We all have families. We all have joys. We all have heartbreaks. So, it’s something that people could relate to just as much back then as today.”

Writing for womenshistory.org, Arlisha Norwood noted that most of Alcott’s schooling came from her parents. She also studied under philosopher Henry David Thoreau and authors Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathanial Hawthorne. “Much like her novel Little Women, Alcott was one of four daughters and she remained close with her sisters throughout her life. Many times, Alcott’s family suffered from financial woes, forcing her to attend school irregularly. She took many jobs to help alleviate financial struggles, working as teacher and washing laundry. She turned to writing for both emotional and financial support.”

Amanda Meleen portrays the character Jo in the play, and Meleen said she can relate to the part.

“I personally like the way my character Jo is always pushing the boundaries of what was expected to be proper, feminine, lady-like behavior. She marches to the beat of her own drum, does things her way, and doesn’t care if it is socially proper or not,” Meleen said.

Meleen added that she loves getting into character, and that acting allows her to escape the stresses of real life. She is a big fan of behind-the-scenes footage or blooper reels that sometimes are TV shows or a part of a of movie extras that has gone to DVD.

“Coming to rehearsals, even if you are not putting on a comedy, it’s still very much like partaking in a blooper reel situation as you learn to develop your character, and you build camaraderie with your fellow castmates,” Meleen said.

“You all become a family,” Hughes added.

Meleen noted that every word that is spoken, every movement that is made, are things that have been planned out and practiced.

The rest of the cast includes Lynn Schaffer as Meg, Makenna Graham as Beth, Zoey Foley as Amy, Jennifer Davis as Marmee, Robert Schlick as Mr. Laurence, Caleb Foley as Laurie, Noah Goodling as Brooke, Adam Owens as Mr. March, Betsy Trusel as Aunt March, and Susan Applegarth as Hannah.

Performances are scheduled for Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.; March 31, and April 1 at 7:30 p.m.; April 2 at 2 p.m.

For more information go to lucilleballlittletheatre.org or email boxoffice@lucilleballlittletheatre.org.


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