Bluefield College Theatre students presented a new adaptation of the beloved classic “Little Women” during four separate performances on campus, February 24-27.
Originally written as a novel by Louisa May Alcott in 1868, the “Little Women” script was adapted for the Bluefield College stage by BC senior Jennifer Bohannan, who worked on the adaptation for more than a year.
“Writing the adaptation was much harder than I thought it would be,” said Bohannan. “I’ve watched (BC Theatre professor) Charles Reese write adaptations for our stage, and he made it look easy, but it really isn’t. The hardest part was trying to decide what was absolutely necessary and what could be taken out.”
Designed and directed by Charles and Rebecca McCoy-Reese, Bohannan’s “Little Women” stayed true to the original autobiographical story of Louisa May Alcott and her sisters, who struggled in 1863 in Concord, Massachusetts, to pursue their passions while helping their mother during a time of war.
The drama focused on Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy’s experiences growing up during the American Civil War. The play followed their exploits as they came of age, married, and began to establish families of their own.
“It was difficult to show the parts of the story in which Louisa May Alcott never gave dialogue,” Bohannan said. “So much of the development of the characters takes place in their own minds. There were several times I had to create scenes so that this internal conflict could be dramatized for the audience.”
Bohannan, a double major in English and theatre from Merrimack, New Hampshire, has been a mainstay on stage and behind the scenes for BC Theatre since she became a student in the fall of 2007. In addition to adapting the story, she played the role of Jo, one of the four March sisters.
Joining her were cast members Maggie Dillon of Athens, West Virginia, as Meg; Marland Funk of Ivanhoe, Virginia, as Beth; and Danielle Workman of Princeton, West Virginia, as Amy.
Their mother, Marmee, was played by Della Limbert of Lititz, Pennsylvania, and their father was portrayed by James Young of Newport News, Virginia.
The supporting cast included Jesse Stevens as Laurie, John Campbell as Mr. Brooke, Josh King as Professor Bhaer, and Bonnie Blackburn as Aunt March. Other cast members included Breanna Buterakos, Sam Corker, Courtney Dutton, Eugene Fitzgerald, Sally Goebel, Mollie Gravier, Stephanie Helbert, Sarah Shelton, and Aryn Summers.
“We were very pleased to produce a script written by one of our own students,” said Charles Reese. “We have completed several faculty written scripts over the years, but a script by one of our students was a new milestone for us. I think it says something about the level of work we are doing at the college in preparing our students for a career in theatre.”
BC Theatre’s next performance will be “The Legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table,” presented by the Youth Theatre, featuring children and teens from the community, June 2-5. For information about auditions, contact the Theatre Department by phone at 276-326-4244 or by email at [email protected].