‘Little Women’ presents alternative view of Civil War
It’s not often you come to Natchez during Pilgrimage and hear a Civil War-era story from the perspective of Yankees.
But that is exactly what Natchez Little Theatre has planned as it presents a production of “Little Women.”
The show is an adaptation of the beloved Louisa May Alcott story of four young sisters and their mother who struggle to overcome the trials of keeping up appearances and spirits while battling poverty and awaiting news of their father who is fighting in the Civil War.
Two casts will perform the show 15 times starting at 7 p.m. today as a benefit for NLT’s building fund with $10 tickets.
NLT Artistic and Executive Director Layne Taylor said he believes “Little Women” lends itself to Natchez’s Pilgrimage season but offers a different point of view.
“It takes place during the war between the states not only from a female perspective, but from a Northern female perspective,” he said. “That’s something we don’t often talk about here.”
Marianne Raley and Amanda Dill will portray “Marmee,” the mother of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March.
Raley, originally from Ohio, said “Little Women” will be an interesting play to see in Natchez during Pilgrimage.
“My daughter said, ‘You get so saturated with the Southern culture when you come to Natchez, it would be kind of cool to see some Yankeeism,” Raley said, laughing.
Raley said she believes the play will give fall pilgrims, particularly those from the North, a nice change of pace.
“They’re already seeing homes and hoopskirts and hearing a lot of ‘y’alls,’ so I think it will be something different that maybe gives them a sense of their own pride of where they’re from,” she said.
Dill says she feels a personal connection to the story of the March girls and their mother, especially because her 9-year-old daughter will be playing Beth.
“To be able to do this play about a mother and her love for her daughters with my own daughter is very exciting,” she said. “It’s very tender to my heart.”
Dill said the story also reminds her of her relationship with her own mother, the late Dr. Patricia Pintard.
“Marmee’s strength is just so amazing in this story, taking care of her daughters and getting them through their circumstances and their connection to one another,” she said. “It just reminds me of the connection I have with my mother and my daughter.”
Adams County Christian School eighth-grader Joanna Johnson will be playing Jo in “Little Women.” Johnson said she is pleased to be part of a great cast.
Johnson said she has never read “Little Women,” but loves to watch the movie with her mother.
“We watch it every time it comes on,” she said.
Cathedral sophomore Jordan Waller will also be portraying Jo, to whom Waller said she feels a connection.
“I read through the script, and I felt like I had a lot in common with her,” Waller said. “We’re both tomboyish and care a lot about our families. I feel a connection with Jo, and I really wanted the role so I could openly express it.”
Waller said she also likes the story of the March women because it is a realistic presentation of women.
“I think women of that time were expected to be prim and proper, and this story shows the depth of the characters and their families, as well as their faults and flaws,” she said.
“Little Women” performances will then run every Friday, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. through Oct. 14, as well as one Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on Oct. 13, with $15 tickets.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit natchezlittletheatre.org or call 601-442-2233.