Louisa May Alcott
Depiction of death/description of the death of a child, use of alcohol, descriptions of sexism, physical violence
Back in December of 2022 I was searching for a play to direct. Since my sophomore year I knew that I wanted nothing more than to direct a show with PAC my senior year, and I wanted the show to have a message that meant something to me. The only question was: what show?
In November of 2022 I found myself at the Drama Book Shop in NYC browsing through the array of plays they had until the title of Little Women caught my eye, a story that I have actually never read through before. Though the play adaptation I first read was not bad, I was not in love with it. This led me to read over 10 different play adaptations before I finally came across the one you will be seeing today by the playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger, my amazing dramaturg Sof describes exactly why I fell in love with this adaptation in their note so I won’t go into it.
Greta Gerwig’s 2019 film adaptation of Little Women is what blossomed my love, passion, and drive to bring this story to the stage. It is one of the most brilliant films I have ever seen and I found that Greta put the story together in a way that truly connects you to every character and the stories they have, from her use of color to the way she put together the past and present timelines. I could go on and on about her film, but I think just watching it will speak for itself.
A lot of the responses I’ve gotten from telling people that I am directing Little Women was a mix of pure excitement and confusion because the story is so old. When you really think about it, the topics of the story are still very prevalent today as they were back then. Little Women is about love, loss, sisterhood, and the pursuit of dreams - something that we all have experienced one time or another. This story celebrates strength in even the darkest times, and the challenges of growing up and finding your place and purpose in the world and keeping your truth and happiness in mind while doing so.
As you sit here in this space that I found perfect for this play, I encourage you to immerse yourself in the lives of the March family and indulge in their joys of sisterhood, the warmth of family, and the discovery of relationships with self and others. This show is reliant on collaboration and connectivity - so feel free to fully let yourself settle into the world of Little Women. It will make you feel an array of emotions in a short amount of time - I encourage you to let yourself feel, it is a gift that we have the ability to do so. Little Women may be set in the mid-1800s but the themes are still universal and timeless. Take the time here to explore the complexity of family (chosen or not), identity, self-discovery, and the journey of finding the things that make you happiest while still being able to hold yourself up.
The beautiful thing about this timeless story is that you will be able to find a piece of yourself in at least one character. Meg is a girl that follows her heart's desire and will follow those wants even if they are “traditional” and sometimes have a weakness for life’s luxuries, Jo is always fighting for her dreams and her strong will sometimes gets the best of her, Amy is ambitious and learns to work with everything she has rather than against, Beth is compassionate and selfless especially when it comes to her family, Marmee will always fight for her family even in the hardest of times, Laurie is a charismatic boy that though to the eye his life seems perfect he is still dealing with more than anyone knows, and John is a smart and responsible man that always tries his best to do the right thing. Each person is so beautifully complex and I guarantee you will find a piece of yourself in this show.
To my cast, I cannot thank you enough for bringing these characters to life in so many beautiful ways and for bringing so many new and exciting things to them and making them your own even if they were created so long ago.
To my team, I am constantly in awe of your minds and talent. From preliminary designs to bringing it all to the stage, you all have never failed to amaze me - thank you so much for bringing my thoughts to the stage in grander ways than I could have imagined.
To my brilliant stage manager Olivia, I could not have done it without you. You have been a dream during this entire process and your leadership has led us to something so beautiful.
To Gabby, you have dealt with all my insane thoughts and ideas and have been so amazing to work with, thank you for working so hard by my side - you have added so much that absolutely glues this show together.
To Becca, your artistry never fails to amaze me, your pictures and videos are perfect and I am so grateful for all of the beautiful work you have put into this production - thank you for always going the extra mile when you didn't have to.
To my parents & family, thank you for always allowing me to follow my dreams just as many do in this very show. I could not have done this without all of your support.
To my best friends in the STEPS house, Alexa, Andrew, Sivan and Matthew: I could not have done this without all of your love and support throughout every doubt in my abilities I had to every time I needed to get all my excitement out about this show to you. I love you and I am so happy to be spending my senior year living with you.
And thank you to the PAC executive board for being a wonderful help with making sure this production runs as smoothly as possible.
Thank you so much for being here, I leave you with this quote and that you’re taking the show into your hands, now please:
“Close your eyes,take my hands, now feel” - Barbie (2023 - Greta Gerwig)
- Bowie Rivera, Director
Jacqueline Goldfinger’s Little Women is one of many adaptations of the renowned novel by Louisa May Alcott, but it is one of the only to give an equal light and humanization to each sister; because they are inspired by real women. It has been a gift to dive deeper into Louisa, Anna, Elizabeth, and May’s lives, and see how similar (or different) they were to their inspired characters - some more literal than others. Louisa’s writing style flipped gender roles on their heads throughout several of her works, often thanks to her progressive intellectual background and a household that didn’t adhere strictly to gender norms of the time.
Her writings not only examined gender roles in the US, but also represented the country during and after the civil war; the destruction, the rebuilding, and the injustice. Her fierce commitment to the abolition, suffragette, and feminist movements can be noted through each of her works, and her dreams of progression have made their mark by influencing generation after generation of women and girls since the release of Little Womenin 1868.
May you see a part of yourself in the March family, whether that be through the awkward John Brooke, the hopeful Laurie, Beth’s kindness, Meg’s desire for love, the ambition of Amy, Marmee’s wisdom, or the headstrong, dream-chasing Jo March.
“I like adventures, and I’m going to find some.” - Jo March
- Sofia DiCarlo, Dramaturg
Jharrel Liam Bernardo
Meet the Company
Jharrel Liam Bernardo
Special Thanks To:
The PAC 2023/2024 Executive Board, Ben Sheedy, Phil McMullen, Main Street Studios, Isabella Giraldo, Jenna Reppenhagen, Molly Gibson, Emily Flores, Bryce McCandless, Hailey Roca, Isabella Albino,Bryce McCandless, Philip Marra III, Trevor Napoli, Andrew Janowski, Dan Lendzian, Czerton Lim
Fredonia Performing Arts Company Executive Board
Executive Producer: Alexa Adler
Assistant Executive Producer: Zach Liddick
Director of Finance: Bowie Rivera
Company Manager: Aidan Heaney
Associate Company Manager: Leilanis Sanchez
General Manager: Rhiannon Craver
Director of Performance and Outreach: Emma Christmann
Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Kayla Chung
Production Manager: Jharrel Liam Bernardo
Assistant Production Manager: Ronnie Swann
Director of Operations: Gabby Medeck
Executive Assistant: Julia Ferrara
Director of Development (Freshman Representative): Bailey Peckman