“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents”, grumbles Jo March in the opening scene of the play, however, we are certainly in for a massive treat with this production. We all remember the first time we saw or read Little Women... personally my first experience was in the early 90s when Joey in Friends read the book and fell in love with the characters. But unlike Joey, we don’t want to put the play in the fridge to freeze time, we are all ready to be immersed in this story.
Coffee and chats were in full flow as Tuesday saw cast, crew and Lyric Production Team altogether for the first time, wiping away the Christmas blues to give us a read-through of Anne-Marie Casey’s beautiful adaptation from the ever popular and nostalgic novel by Louisa May Alcott.
We got to embark on our Little Women journey with our wee women; Ruby Campbell (Meg), Marty Breen (Jo), Maura Bird (Beth), Tara Cush (Amy), Jo Donnelly (Marmee), Alison Harding (Aunt March), Cillian Lenaghan (Laurie), Shaun Blaney (Brooke) and Ash Rizi (Bhaer). Tracey Lindsay (Set Designer) wowed us with her model box presentation of the world being brought to life. Upon initial reaction, the sense of “home” is very perceptible. We got a gorgeous glimpse from Gillian Lennox (Costume Designer) of the styles and imagery that our characters will be living in. We had sneak peaks from Stuart Robinson (Sound Designer) and Sarah Jane Sheils (Light Designer) of some auditory and visual effects for the show which is already taking us on our beautiful journey.
During the week we were graced with table-time. Collaborating, getting a chance to go through the script in the finest of details and ask questions, get a sense of connection and start to piece character storylines together. Emily Foran (Director) gave her attention to the cast whilst giving her thoughts, feelings and reactions to the world that she will be bringing to life... and let me tell you it’s a cracker! I must give a moment for Emily because her listening ear and vocal understanding that she gives everyone individually was applaudable. It can be nerve-wrecking to enter a space with new people who are in discovery and development mode, delving into new senses of reality, but Emily responded to every comment with “that’s an excellent question”, “thank you for making that point”, “that’s a wonderful suggestion” and just knowing that your voice has impacted, mattered and/or been acknowledged in that moment makes all the difference.
Paula O’Reilly (Choreographer) took us on a fun morning of play, trusting and intuition. The movement process for this show is going to be filled with so much heart and having Paula in the room as Intimacy Co-Ordinator also provides a safe and comfortable space from the get-go. To many this role may be a new concept, but one that is very necessary to the process of creating any intimate moment between characters. They are an advocate of the Actor and a liaison of Actors and Production team that involves scenes or actions of intimacy. They work very closely with the 5 C’s: context, communication, consent, choreography and closure.
The cast got to end the week with an accent session with Brendan Gunn to have the time to develop their accents for their characters and finely tune their intonation, articulation and inflections collectively.
The excitement and desires around this show are palpable. With many shows already sold out, this is going to be one for the ages. I look forward to bringing you all more behind-the-scenes commentary over the next few weeks of rehearsals. This team are nothing short of laughter, jokes, leftover Christmas chocolate bars, Haribo gummies, and asking the ever-dreaded question “can I add in another prop?"
Debra Hill - Assistant to the Director, Little Women