Little Women is kicking off the holidays with a twist! Get a peek behind the curtain through this Little Women Meet & Greet conversation with members of the creative team.
What is a Meet & Greet?
Good question! For most shows at Seattle Rep, we host a “Meet & Greet” where staff and donors welcome the cast and creative teams of our productions on their first day of rehearsal.
Introducing the Play
Newly appointed Seattle Rep Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez welcomes the cast and creative teams to their first day of rehearsal and shares his excitement for this upcoming production: “It’s a wonderful play to start the holiday season. It’s a story for multigenerational families coming together and may be an introduction to theater for many.”
Seattle Rep Artistic Producer Kaytlin McIntyre and Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez address staff, cast members, and the creative team at the Little Women Meet & Greet.
Why Little Women? Why Now?
“I love looking at pieces of art written in a different era. By placing them in this current moment, the work can exist in both moments of history, past and present,” elaborates Dámaso. He believes there’s a message in classic stories that “rings across time, connecting humanity.” Artistic Producer Kaytlin McIntyre chimes in, “This production wrestles with ‘what does this classic story mean right now?’ Particularly to women, femme, and trans people.”
The cast and members of the creative team of Little Women on the first day of rehearsal.
Kate Hamill, the playwright of this adaptation, wrote a message to Seattle Rep to be shared at this gathering: “I’m so happy to have a show at Seattle Rep again and be part of Dámaso Rodríguez’s first season. This play is about trying to find your identity in an often uncertain world, and how telling stories can bring meaning and shape into our lives. I am happy to play a small part in Seattle Rep’s legacy in bringing an essential, timely narrative to our community. I hope audiences can feel themselves heard and celebrated in this text."
Little Women Director Marti Lyons.
Directing, Unfolding, and Moving an American Story
“I feel ecstatic to be here,” shares director Marti Lyons. “[Playwright] Kate [Hamill] says in the beginning of her script that this is an American story—we are telling it as ourselves as contemporary Americans. Our ensemble is bringing who they are to this play. In doing so, we are not only just bringing our own perspective, but also carrying forward Louisa May Alcott’s own perspective of her own work.”
Little Women Costume Designer An-lin Dauber and Director Marti Lyons.
Tell Me A Story, Jo
Spoilers Ahead! Marti shares her idea about the role of Jo March setting the narrative structure for this Little Women: “Jo starts with a fantastic piece and big imagination, and through the course of the piece, events, and bonding of the family, Jo learns how to tell Jo’s story—and learns that that story is worth being told.”
Little Women is “a story that happens in the domestic sphere, and we say this story is important, relevant, and urgent. That, to me, is following the same process that we see Jo have in the show. We learn who we are through the act of telling the story, receiving the story, and telling it again,” Marti says.
Did You Know?
- There is a podcast titled, Jo’s Boys: A Little Women Podcast, which goes chapter by chapter through Alcott's original Little Women and explores the classic story through a queer and trans lens
- Louisa May Alcott preferred to go by “Lou”
- The March characters are inspired by Alcott's own family
Little Women set model. Scenic Design by Collette Pollard.
Scenic Design: The World of Little Women
“It’s a dream to work with this team on this project,” says Scenic Designer Collette Pollard. Joining via Zoom from her classroom at the University of Illinois, Collette shares, "We started by looking at different photo frames from the 1860s” to dive into the world of the play." During the research phase, “We spent time in the real Alcott home built by Louisa May Alcott’s father.”
Fun Fact: The Orchard House located in Massachusetts is where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set Little Women in 1868. (You can also pay a visit here!)
Images from a tour of the real Alcott home, presented by Scenic Designer Collette Pollard.
Reflecting on Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House Tour, Collette explains, “The arts have an ability to help people grieve through [different forms of] art." For example, when Louisa fell ill, "Louisa’s sister painted flowers [on the wall] for her, because she didn’t have funds to buy flowers." Also, Louisa herself helped process her own grief over the death of her real-life sister by writing Little Women.
“Color became a huge conversation with this team to bring the house back to life.” —Collette Pollard, Scenic Designer for Little Women
Inspired by the painted flowers, “Everything on stage is hand painted, especially the unique floral wallpaper.”
An-lin Dauber presents costume renderings for Little Women.
Costume Design: Living, Fitting, and Pushing Against Clothes
For costuming this show, “We started looking at the 1860s,” says Costume Designer An-lin Dauber. “Girls living in the clothes, fitting in the clothes, and pushing against the clothes.” The story is set during the Civil War, at a time when “‘rational dress’ took place. Women started to appropriate men’s clothing, rejecting the corset and wearing men’s pants.”
Also at this time, new innovations in textiles came to the forefront of clothing design. For example, did you know there was a new type of dye created in this era? With this new dye, “vibrant colors exploded, and you get all these types of patterns that are fun and contemporary—not at all of what you think of the past,” shares An-lin.
Examples of the vibrant mid-1800s dyes and patterns shared by An-lin.
After months of work, An-lin has decided the actors will be styled in an era-specific way, but with a contemporary twist: “patterns clashing, shorter skirts, and pushing norms to tell this story in the way that feels right today.” Marti adds, "Clothing is an obstacle for the characters and serves as a metaphor on stage."
Costume renderings for the character of Meg March by An-lin Dauber.
“We have dresses. We also have women who are starting to say, what are alternative versions of dress? What are the different forms of representation through clothing?” —An-lin Dauber, Costume Designer for Little Women
Lighting Design: Shedding Some Light
How do you capture something intangible? Classic and modern paintings inspired Lighting Designer Reza Behjat to explore “the relationship between the direction of daylight coming to a space versus bodies we see in space.”
Lighting Designer Reza Behjat presenting lighting plans via Zoom.
"Exploring the location and highlighting the architecture makes each moment theatrical,” says Reza. Light looks different early in the morning versus 6 p.m., so “keeping the sense of movement, especially during transitions, keeps the story moving” and is a focus in Reza’s design. Lighting and sound will navigate transitions together.
Reza also elaborates on the natural lighting of the period and how this inspired this show’s lighting design: “There wasn’t widespread electricity at this time, so there are a lot of light sources to add to the house, like candles and lanterns. These different sources can create different silhouettes along the walls."
Experience this colorful, compelling classic through a contemporary lens this month! Previews for Little Women begin November 10, running through December 17, 2023 on the Bagley Wright stage.
Meet & Greet photos by Sayed Alamy and Eliane Rodriguez.