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Prana Presents Little Women. Sold Out

by Ceci LeBeau
February 2, 2018

From left, on couch, Riley Greendale, Abby Rachlin, Maya Rosen. Standing Julia Quatromoni

This weekend the winsome four young ladies ever immortalized as “little women” come from Concord, MA to our own town of Holliston. Under the capable direction of Roberta Weiner, 30 theater students ranging from third grade through high school will dazzle with their rendition of this timeless tale. A grown up Jo, ably played by Nora Kempner, narrates the story. Act I shows the girls as children, with Maya Rosen, Julia Quatromoni, Carina Brown and Abby Rachlin playing Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth, respectively. The beloved story of headstrong writer Jo (a model of Louisa May Alcott herself) who rages against the constraints of being a woman dovetails nicely with her weeping when Amy is nearly drowned. Kindly Beth nearly dies from a fever caught from cradling the poor Hummels’ baby. Generous Meg gives a hard earned quarter to her younger, spoiled sister for the latest fad at school, limes. The tyrannical Aunt March cajoles and threatens the girls. As played by Abby Eppinger, she elicits laughter every time. This drama is played out against the lean years of the Civil War, in which the March sisters are pitied amongst their neighbors for their poverty while their father serves as a chaplain in Washington, DC. Their mother, Marmee, played with dignity by Olivia Gallerani, is at the helm, calming the waters.

Back row Lorna King, Adele Boggess, Julia Quatromoni, Maya Rosen. Front row Margaux Pellissier, Chloe Butterly, Addison McShane

In Act 2, a delightful transformation takes place. Older Meg, Amy and Beth are now played by Clancy Harrington, Grace Kasten and Ellie Bavey. Boy next door Laurie is now played by Jason Stokes. Hard working maid Hannah, played by Riley Greendale, transforms into handsome German Professor Bhaer. The travails of adult life are now tackled. Meg accepts the hand of tutor John Brooke, as Olivia Hansbury. Jo crushes Laurie by refusing to marry him. The wily Aunt March decides to reward only one of her granddaughters with a trip to Paris. The lucky Amy connects with Laurie and falls in love. Here Roberta Weiner inserts an unexpected treat: a scene from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Three Little Maids at School, sung and danced by Abby Rachlin, Mia McGann, and Kaelyn Rickman. Beth tragically dies, and Jo finds her writing career and her true love in NYC.

In chair, Olivia Gallerani as Marmee. Left Carina Brown as Amy, Julia Quatromoni as Meg, Abby Rachlin as Beth and (back to camera) Maya Rosen as Jo

Although loosely based on Louisa May Alcott’s own life, Little Women as a book is what provided the real Alcotts with a happy ending. Bronson Alcott, a Transcendentalist and cohort of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, was in truth a poor provider for his family. It fell to Louisa to support them with her talent for writing. After the huge success of Little Women, she wrote numerous other cheerful, instructional stories to captivate young and old. Little Men carries on the story of Jo and Professor Bhaer as they adopt and teach a group of school boys. Throughout her books runs the theme of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. We each are pilgrims, she suggests, striving to overcome the many adversities of life. Ever moving higher, the girls in this play embody this virtue of trying always, in Marmee’s simple words, to “be good.” It is a rousing success.

Ceci LeBeau

 

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Comments (1)

Thank you Ceci for this beautiful review. I love how you add your insights into the real Alcott family!

- Roberta Weiner | 2/2/18 8:36 AM

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