By Matthew Nash
Olympic Peninsula News Group
SEQUIM — Local teens will stage the timeless tale of “Little Women” starting this weekend.
Robin Hall directs Sequim High School’s all-school play at 7 p.m. today and Saturday and Nov. 11-12 at the high school’s auditorium, 601 N. Sequim Ave.
Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for senior citizens. Family passes are available for $16.
Based on Louisa May Alcott’s book and adapted by Scott Davison, Audrey Hughes stars as Jo March with her stage sisters, Victoria Hall as Meg, Abygail Mundy as Beth and Alison Cobb as Amy.
The stage version follows the girls through adolescence during a portion of the Civil War as their father, played by Seth Mitchell, goes off to war and their mother, Marmee, played by Colleen Carpenter, leaves to tend to him as the girls discover more of the world and band together through poverty, love and loss.
Robin Hall said this is the first time they’ve staged the play in Sequim.
“We have some really talented girls and it’s a classic,” she said.
“And for the fall plays, I make it a teaching show so that we can focus on acting, stage direction and all the aspects of theater.”
Hughes steps into her first leading role for the high school after taking on smaller roles in “Cinderella” and “The Music Man.”
“I was intrigued by the character Jo,” she said. “I feel we have a lot of similarities. She’s a writer and I want to be a writer. She kind of does her own thing, too.”
Hall said she was looking for an actress who could handle the pressure of being on stage almost the whole show as well.
“We needed someone versatile enough,” Hall said. “This is their formative teenage years, and we have to see her mature in 90 minutes. She was able to do that. I knew she could handle the pressure.”
Hughes said she’s loving the role and opportunity.
“I just love acting,” she said. “I love being someone else and getting to let out all that crazy energy that people might think you’re weird if you do [off stage] but on the stage it’s normal.”
Carpenter, a familiar face in Sequim shows, steps into the role of the March mother and her first part in an all-school play. She last read the book in fifth grade for fun and finds the March sisters’ story remains “pretty timeless.”
“There are always families struggling, and it shows how they bind together and get through it all,” Carpenter said. “It’s a classic. Even if you haven’t seen it, you’ve heard of it.”
She feels “Little Women” has a character that fits every personality and can connect to any viewer, too.
“It’s about perseverance for Jo and for everyone else, how you deal with unexpected challenges and life,” she said.
At the core of Hall teaching the stage adaptation, she said, is explaining concepts of the time period versus now.
“It’s been interesting with the girls,” Hall said. “We still have some ways to go. We’ve been able to talk about the rights women didn’t have back then and why. It was a matter of survival and they had to marry well, too.”
But mindsets are challenged, at least by Jo.
“Audrey’s Jo is a little bit before the time,” Hall said. “She helped the women’s movement to some degree. She even talks about wanting to be a man, but because she wants the same rights.”
Hall said discussing some of the differences in the play between now and then seemed foreign to some of the girls.
“We’re blessed in Sequim to have a good community,” she said. “We’re blessed to live in a country and community where [women] aren’t suppressed like they once were.”
Aside from the March family, other cast members include Gabi Simonson, Genevieve King, Katie Potter, Korina Thiemke, Brittney Rives, Christopher Heintz and Jack Dismore.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Hall said.
“I think it’ll be wonderful. There are no big special effects, and I think it’ll be an enjoyable evening where anyone can identity with someone.”
For more information, call Hall at 360-460-7860.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.