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No Trouble Relating

‘Little Women’ speaks clearly to young actresses

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Photographs by COURTESY PHOTO

The Arts Live Theatre “Little Women” cast includes (top) Madison Gates, Harley White, (second row) Jessica Bylak, Jennings Hix, Astrid Allen, Lucie Taylor, Isabelle Moss, (third row) Nola Bradley, Audra Shaver (front row) and Jaya Sharma.

Director Natalie Lane appears thrilled to be mounting a production of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" as Arts Live Theatre's next show.

"I love introducing the classics to the kiddos," says Lane. "I find they respond enthusiastically as well. I think it's beneficial to this age to learn that classics don't equal a stuffy or boring story and how our struggles and joys are the same as the people in these stories but in a different place and time.

FAQ

‘Little Women’

WHEN — 7 p.m. today and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

WHERE — Arts Live Theatre, 818 N. Sang Ave. in Fayetteville

COST — $7-$9

INFO — 521-4932

"Also, everyone gets a history lesson of the time period while having fun and walking around in it."

Arts Live's executive director Mark Landon Smith says the adaptation of the 1868 novel -- the sometimes-poignant, sometimes-humorous coming-of-age story of the four spunky March sisters -- was a collaboration between himself and Debbie Lane.

"We chose to take out the male characters to make the piece completely female-driven," Smith says. "The male characters are referred to and discussed, but we never see them on stage."

Smith says the characters and storyline of the classic are "timeless."

"It is a classic work which continues to be relateable and have significance," he says. "And most young girls, at some point in their lives, want to be Jo [March]."

Jo is the second-oldest of the sisters, a budding writer, and her stubborn and outgoing personality provide some of the more humorous plotlines of the book.

Lane says her young actors have had no trouble relating to characters like Jo, despite the fact that they exist in a different age.

"They absolutely relate," she says. "I always make a point early on to throw questions at them to bring it home. For 'Little Women,' they've talked a lot about their relationships with siblings, family and female friends.

"I think audiences will respond to the performance of the actors. They have a real grasp on the story they're telling."

-- Lara Hightower

lhightower@nwadg.com

NAN What's Up on 05/19/2017

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