“Little Women” brings laughter and tears to Anathan Theatre

By Anabel Stickney
Staff Writer

Complete with hilarious friendships, heated sibling rivalry and unconventional dancing techniques, “Little Women” brought Anathan Theatre to life with performances on Nov. 10-11, 17-18 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 12 and 19 at 2 p.m.  

The production of “Little Women” performed by the Franciscan University of Steubenville theatre department was a play by Kate Hamill, adapted from the novel by Louisa May Alcott. The stage adaptation featured distinct differences from the famous book, but remained true to many aspects. 

The story followed four sisters who experienced the love and sacrifice of family life and the costs of growing up as women in Civil War-era society. Hamill’s version was centered around the main character, “Josephine March”, played by junior Ava Quaale. The audience followed this female lead’s journey towards becoming a published author and discovering herself. 

A unique feature of the set was hand-painted illustrations that were projected as a backdrop for the action onstage. The artwork catered to enhancing the physical set pieces, like patch-worked quilts and 19th century-style furniture.  

The paintings were created by senior Maria Schmiesing and the set was designed by theatre department professor Dr. Monica Fay Anderson.  

Many different pianos, which played pivotal roles in the plot, also adorned the stage and, in some instances, accompanied characters “Jo” and “Laurie” in their swashbuckling theatricals. 

The action was also enhanced by an offstage choir that sang melodies during scene changes and important moments. 

A member of the choir, freshman Genevieve Bede, shared, “Before each show we pray together as a cast, that the audience is brought closer to God through the performance…” 

Bede expressed thankfulness for her castmates and shared, “I’ve enjoyed getting to know everyone and appreciating their many different dreams, that are under the goal of building the Kingdom.” 

After watching the production, Junior Liz Condon said, “Little Women is so classic and timeless that no matter what they have to do to fit it into a little production…it’s always beautiful. The themes never change. I often think the center of the story is Beth. Everything grows around Beth. She’s the best character there.”  

“[The performance] was really, really well done. So beautiful. It never stops being enjoyable,” she added.