This show runs approximately 3 hours, including two intermission.
THE HOUSE OPENS 45 MINUTES BEFORE CURTAIN. You may want to arrive early to enjoy the exhibit in our art gallery with refreshments ranging from coffee and cookies to beer and wine.
POST-SHOW DISCUSSION: Join the company of Little Women for a post-show discussion following the Sunday matinee on April 7.
AUDIO-DESCRIPTION: The Sunday, April 7th performance will be audio-described, based on reservations. Click here for a description of this and other access services at TRP.
About the Show
(company members are listed at the bottom, following the interview with the director)
Louisa May Alcott’s family classic Little Women has been embraced by generations of girls since it was written in the late 1860s. Funny, touching, and lovingly stitched from the writer’s own memories of growing up in a family of four sisters near Concord, Massachusetts, the Civil War-era story still connects powerfully with readers today, for its lively, relatable characters, nostalgic warmth and its timeless values of loving kindness. Peter Clapham’s adaptation brings the March family delightfully to life on stage.
In his TRP debut, Director Seth Kaltwasser applies his experience working with intimate, immersive-theater staging at the black box St. Croix Festival Theatre, including a notable all-female production of 1776. With Little Women, he’s again working with a strong female ensemble, albeit in a more traditional framework.
Interview with the Director
Q: You are directing an adaptation of a much-loved novel, which is at once a wonderful gift, while perhaps a little daunting. What, do you anticipate, are some of the expectations the audience of Little Women fans will be bringing along with them? What should they know going into this in order to enjoy the show?
KALTWASSER: Our adaptation centers on the novel’s first half, when the sisters are all young and living at home. There are no marriages and no deaths in this production. While we see a lot of John Brooke and Laurie, our play allows the audience to focus on the relationships between the girls and their mother. The playwright has rearranged certain small details of the story to bring all of the play’s action inside the March home. Many of the beloved scenes from the novel’s earliest chapters (Meg’s burned hair, the burned book, and Jo’s surprise haircut) are featured in this version. I think the playwright has been very successful in selecting a portion of the book and translating its spirit into a format that works well on stage and tells a whole lot of stories within a two-hour time frame.
Q: What appeals to you about this show as a director? Talk about the timeless aspect of this story, this family.
KALTWASSER: I’m new to the Little Women story. I hadn’t read the book or seen any of the film adaptations until I signed on to direct this show. One of the fun parts about getting to know the story and its legacy over the last year has been discovering just how enthusiastic its fan base remains, even 150 years after the book made its first impressions. The opportunity to work on literature that has such a rich heritage is very meaningful to me. I also like the way the playwright has kept all of the action within the March home. We hear about events that happen around town, but the action of the play is fully grounded within this magical time and place. It allows me and my team (and, eventually, our audience) the opportunity to feel “at home” here, as well.
Q: Part of the delight of the novel is getting to know each of the March sisters, each so distinctively drawn and yet so unified as a family. What one or two words would you use to describe each of the March sisters? How are you and your actors working to develop their characters, and that close family relationship?
KALTWASSER: Much has been said about the four distinct personalities that make up the quartet of sisters: you’ve got Meg (the graceful eldest sister), Jo (the passionate tomboy), timid Beth, and spoiled Amy, the baby of the family. All four of our actors bring these traits into their performances, and part of the appeal of the story is to see the wildly different personalities that can develop between siblings raised in the same home. For me, however, I’m finding that I appreciate the things that unify the four girls. In particular, I think each of these characters is fiercely courageous. At various moments throughout the play, each sister has to confront a conflict between their own beliefs and desires and the practical realities and social norms of the time. You can see this when Meg falls in love with John Brooke, or when Jo determines to cut her hair. You can see it in the way Beth cares for the poor Hummel family or as Amy steels herself to go live with Aunt March. Yes, there are noticeable differences in the colorful personalities of the sisters, but there is also this unifying bravery; they are each little heroes in their time and place.
Q: You are working with a cast of several newcomers to our arena, and this is your first time directing here. What excites you about this space?
KALTWASSER: It’s so fun to work in the arena format! Most of my directing experience has been in proscenium or black box venues, so it’s thrilling to work with this “in the round” floor plan. I’m really lucky to be working with designers who are very familiar with the space, and so together, we’re working to make this an immersive experience that brings that audience into a unique time and place. If we’re successful, the effect will be that the audience won’t feel set apart, like a third-party watching the events unfold from a distance. Rather, I think this space invites audience members to feel like they’re apart of a three-dimensional world.
John Brooke: Daniel Ajak
Meg March: Callie Baack
Beth March: Piper Christenson
Amy March: Louisa Darr
Hannah: Barbara Franklin
Jo March: Cate Jackson
Mr. March: Dennis Johnston
Marmee: Helen Martin
Mr. Laurence: Thom Pinault
Laurie: Benjamin Slye
Aunt March: Lola Watson
ARTISTIC & PRODUCTION STAFF
Director: Seth Kaltwasser
Set Designer: Greg Vanselow
Lighting Designer: Mark Kieffer
Costume Designer: Carolann Winther
Prop Designer: Wendy Freshman
Sound Designer/Composer: Robert Hoffman
Stage Manager: Mady Davis
Assistant Lighting Designer: Christopher Gehrke