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Belonging, Independence and Family: TGV presents “Little Women”

Character, setting, plot, meaning.

These are just some of the common elements found across all stories, and Theatre Guild Valdosta’s production of “Little Women” highlights all of them.

Though “Little Women” was originally written by novelist Louisa May Alcott, TGV’s production is based on playwright Kate Hamill’s 2018 adaptation of the classic novel. “Little Women” has been adapted over a dozen times across stage, screen and literature; Hamill’s script is the seventh and most recent non-musical stage adaptation.

“[‘Little Women’] is a story of sisterhood and the bonds sisters have,” Director Micaiah Barajas said. “It’s a story of family and finding your own way.”

“Little Women” follows the story of four sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March – as they grow from young girls into women in 1860s Massachusetts. The story, which is based loosely on Louisa May Alcott and her three sisters, is narrated by Jo, the second oldest March sister.

Melissa Glasscock (left) and Lindsey Clanton (right) portray sisters Meg and Jo March, respectively. 

“Jo … doesn’t want to be a lady,” Lindsey Clanton, who plays the headstrong sister in TGV’s production, said. “She wants to be one of the greats. She doesn’t want to get married and have kids; she doesn’t want to be a housewife. She wants to live her own life, and that’s something I can relate to. I love my independence.”

Patti Robertson, a VSU math professor and TGV president, plays Aunt March in the show. She read “Little Women” as a young girl and describes it as “a classic story that people love.”

“…I think it’s a really powerful message, even for today,” Robertson said. “One of the main ideas in that book was how Jo didn’t want to be a stereotypical girl. She wanted to be able to do things that only men seemed to be able to do. I think that same struggle still goes on today.”

While “Little Women” is best known for its focus on the March sisters, one less observed portion of the story is the expected societal conformity of all characters, not just the women, and what that means for people today.

Ulysses Martinez plays Laurie in the show, a neighbor of the Marches and Jo’s close friend.

Martinez (Laurie) and Clanton (Jo) rehearse a scene between their characters.

“Laurie’s grandfather has these great plans for him to become this ‘perfect’ idea of a man,” Martinez said. “Go off to war, be in charge of a business. In reality, Laurie is in love with the arts. He plays the piano. I feel like all my life I’ve never really fit into the typical ‘manly’ type. I love the arts, I play the piano, so it’s nice to play a character who resembles what I’m feeling.”

Martinez said he feels the primary message behind the play is to defy expectations set on you and do what makes you happy.

Melissa Glasscock, who plays Meg in the show, agrees.

“I feel the message is just to be true to yourself,” she said. “The story will bring you through all sorts of emotions. You will feel like you’re right there in the story.”

“Little Women” has been in production for six weeks. Their intricate set, which includes a set of stairs and a second level for standing, took about three weeks to build.

“We had a short rehearsal window and the set designer along with the cast had the availably to come in on random days, not just the weekends, [to help with set design],” Tasha Conrad, assistant director, said. “We were able to get the set put together much faster than we would have in a normal scenario.”

Barajas worked with set designer Dana Welch to sketch a model of the set before the building process. It was based on pictures and ideas the two came up with together.

“The creative process of this production is my absolute favorite part,” Barajas said. “Watching something come from my head, like this set, and going to someone and saying, ‘Hey, these are my ideas.’ Character building: you give your actors and actresses these ideas of ‘This is what I’m looking for. Can you give it to me?’”

 

“I found as I sat here and watched that I was like, ‘Oh, well, what if we did this or what if we tried that?’” Conrad added. “Sitting back and seeing from this [director] perspective let those [creative decisions] come to us. We’ve had so many moments where just changing some blocking let us go, ‘That was it. That was what we needed to happen.’”

“Little Women” opens at the ‘Dosta Playhouse on February 1. Show dates include February 1-3 and 8-10 at 7:30 p.m. and February 4 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available for sale through TGV’s website, https://theatreguildvaldosta.com/index.html. The ‘Dosta Playhouse is located at 122 N Ashley St. between The Bistro and El Paso Tacos and Tequila.

Written by Bailey Storey, Co-Editor in Chief. Photos by Bailey Storey.

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