This adaptation includes most of the moments and characters we know and love, if in a bit of a compressed form. The story stops before Jo goes off to the big city (and gets married) and Amy goes to Europe (and gets married), which seems appropriate to the focus of the piece and keeps the story briskly moving at just over two hours. Appropriate because each little woman has her complete arc - Meg finding herself again after motherhood, Amy growing up (a little) and making amends with her sisters, Jo finding her voice and finally writing a "real" story, and Beth... well, we know how her arc ends (#bringtissues). The four sisters really are the centerpiece of the story, around which revolve several other characters including their beloved Marmee, trusty maid/cook/second mother Hannah, their mostly absent father, charming neighbor boy Laurie, his stern but tender-hearted grandfather, and Meg's suitor John.*
|Marmee and her "little women"|
(photo by Molly Weibel)
The charmingly rustic two-level set of the comfortable but not fancy March home features wooden beams that support the attic, with a brick chimney extending through both stories, a glowing fireplace on each. Other locations are represented in front of the set with the addition of a few set pieces or decorations. The cast is dressed in modest period costumes, lots of full skirts, with Jo notably wearing pants through most of the show (scenic design by MJ Leffler, costume design by Bronson Talcott).
This adaptation puts more emphasis on the strict gender roles of the time (which are different today, but often still strictly defined), and the way that Jo, and even Laurie, don't fit into them. This idea was always there in Alcott's story, but we see it in a new light now with our increased understanding of the fluidity of gender identity and the many different ways there are to be a woman, little or otherwise.*
Kate Hamill's Little Women continues at Lyric Arts in Anoka through June 26.
|a publicity photo of the "little women" in happier times|
Grace Jones (Amy), Marci Lucht (Meg), Nina Aguilera Araya (Beth), and Antonia Perez (Jo)
photo credit: Molly Weibel