If you remember Louisa May Alcott’s "Little Women," you are probably female. Boys read "Little Men."
Bob Colonna has taken the popular 19th century classic and adapted it for the stage, directing a large cast of 15, some playing more than one role.
While the play is not one of the most exciting I have seen, it is much better than a dull version I saw years ago at a local college. Colonna uses the proscenium stage to his advantage, using two tiers and simple props that are moved about by two actors in a vaudevillian style. Some actors comment on the proceedings while holding a picture frame in front of their faces.
We follow the four March girls from childhood through maturity through a series of vignettes, some humorous, some poignant, some romantic and one or two that could have been cut. Rae Mancini plays their mother, Marmee, trying valiantly and positively to raise four girls in the absence of her husband and leaving them to fend for themselves when she needs to go to him.
Colonna uses a brilliant theatre technique in transitioning the young girls into women at the beginning of the second act, just one example of his sharp direction in keeping the play moving at a good pace.
Elise Arsenault plays (and looks a bit like) Alcott, wearing a beautiful outfit designed by Marcia Zammarelli.
There are too many in the cast to name, but all play their roles well, especially Kathryn Woods and Kristina Drager as the young and grown-up Jo. (Some day we will get 2nd Story to tell us a little about the actors in the program).
Be sure to pick up Eileen Warburton’s essay in the lobby for a good background about Alcott and the era.
“Little Women” is at 2nd Story Theatre through Dec. 11. Tickets are $30. Call 247-4200 for reservations.