Last updated on February 18, 2022
Northwest has a longstanding tradition of putting on a school play, and that will continue this year with Little Women. Last year, the cast of The Addams Family blew the audience away and this year we can expect no less. Director Ashleigh B. has set the classic play, originally based on the 1896 book written by Louis May Alcott, in the 1960s, and will examine gender roles and the impact of how they are presented in the play through this performance. She has been working with the cast since September getting ready for a January performance date, which unfortunately was pushed back to late March due to COVID-19. So much work has been put into this performance, and it is met with much anticipation from the community.
This is Ashleigh’s first year directing the Northwest school play and she has already made waves with her choice to place this historical timepiece in the 1960s, a time period filled with the same passion and fervor for social justice we see today. “1965-1966 was such a rich transformational period in our history that still echoes out into the pages of headline news today.” Said Ashleigh “Nina Simone says, “An artist’s duty is to reflect the times,” so, this is why I chose to re-write it into a different time period because it is uncomfortably similar to the present day.” She hopes to draw attention to the jarring similarities between the 1860s (the original time period of the play), the 1960s, and the modern-day. All three of these time periods were filled with death due to war and disease, but also hope in political uprisings. “With 5.73M deaths worldwide from Covid 19, critical race theory under attack in schools, the country is divided on abortion rights for women and President Biden is currently deploying thousands of troops to Eastern Europe and Baltics.” Says Ashleigh “My hope is that our audiences will reflect on what action they can take to create the change they want to see personally or for their loved ones and community after seeing our show.” This major rewriting of the play was sparked in August of 2021 by just one song, Ashleigh told me. The song “Move,” by Black, Queer artist, Krystle Warren reminded her of a 60s gospel song.
The set for the play was designed by Zach Humes, and put together by his stagecraft class. Ashleigh described the set as “Eclecticism, bohemian with a Mad Men vibe.” In addition to the creative seat design, you can look forward to seeing 1960s ladylike elegance with the Space Age influence and a classic 1960s hippie style. The men’s costumes will have 60s patterns with a military influence, pointing to the war that was going on during the time period this play was set in.
There are a number of opportunities to see this play. Little Women opens on March 21st at 7 pm for friends and family as well as performances on the 22nd at 7 pm, and the 23rd at 7 pm for a closing show. There will be two school matinee shows on the 22nd and 23rd. These performances bookend mid-winter break and summits. This cast has put in so many hours to make a beautiful performance come together in hard times, and they have made a true effort to make it their own. This will be the first full, live production the NWS Theatre Department has done, (in addition to the Middle School production of Anne of Green Gables this year) since March of 2020. Ashleigh stated that she is incredibly proud of the cast and the entire theater department who helped this play come together. The impact of this play, woven in with the ‘groovy’ 60s aesthetic and the amazing performance from the actors will no doubt leave a lasting impression on the audience, and the Northwest School community.
The play will take place in the 401 Black Box Theater to socially distanced live audiences! Students and faculty will have two special opportunities to see our Matinee performances during D block. Folks are welcome to sign up to reserve their seats here: Little Women Performances.xlsx
*Each family member of an actor in the show is allowed two seats per show. There are only 60 seats available in our theater, for Covid protocol. Families should write their first and last name in a slot to claim up to two seats. If for some reason, families are not able to make it to a performance after signing up for a seat, please delete your name from the spreadsheet to indicate that seat has become available again or contact me via email or phone ASAP.
Proof of vaccination and/or negative Covid test from within 72 hours is required for all audience members.