Eileen Butts directed the musical Anne of Green Gables for Bard to Broadway in 2011 and the success she had with that play is partly why she’s now directing Little Women for the company.
“(Anne of Green Gables) seemed to tap into a certain feeling of nostalgia that a lot of people held,” she said, adding that both books which the plays are based on were probably read at impressionable ages and stuck with people over the years. Many people favour these books, she said.
“So it just seemed a really good opportunity to revisit that.”
Little Women is a stage adaptation of the classic story written by Louisa May Alcott, published in 1868. Anne of Green Gables was written by Lucy Maud Montgomery and published in 1908.
Butts said she recently read that Montgomery was partly influenced by Alcott’s Little Women when she wrote Anne of Green Gables.
“I thought that was really great,” she said.
This is Butts 14th season with B2B and the 10th show she’s directed for the company.
Butts is originally from Montreal and has been in the area since 1976. She was a local science teacher and librarian for 33 years before she retired four years ago.
Butts said she chose Little Women because many people have read the timeless family classic and will want to revisit the story.
The story surrounds four sisters living during the American Civil War, and involves what transpires while their father is away serving in the army.
She said some people will be familiar with the movie, but that includes the story of the sequel novel Good Wives, which has many of the sadder parts people might remember.
The story of Little Women only covers one year, she said, and although it’s not all happy times, it is mostly upbeat. The story is semi-autobiographical, Butts explained, based partly on the events of Alcott’s own life. The character that she was most closely related to would be Josephine or Jo, who had an independent spirit and wanted to be a writer.
Butts said there’s a lovely sense of warmth and nostalgia in the play, but most of all people will enjoy the characters and their interactions.
“I think (the audience) is going to enjoy the family dynamics,” she said. “There’s a lot of interplay amongst the sisters… both good and bad,” she laughed.
Little Women opens at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach on July 6 and runs to August 9.
Tickets for performances up to July 13 are $17 for seniors and students and $19 for adults. After July 15 tickets go up $3. For information call 250-752-4470 or visit www.b2btheatre.com.
CONTEST: Win two tickets to see a Bard to Broadway show, including Little Women, email firstname.lastname@example.org with I want to see Bard to Broadway in the subject line. Include your name and address. Draw will be done July 9.