ANTC Presents Actors Repertory Shows

From Thursday March 2 to Saturday March 4, the Aliso Niguel Theatre Club’s Actors Repertory performed Little Women, adapted by Allan Knee and Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley.

Corrie Denton (12) made her directorial debut working on Crimes of the Heart. Set in Mississippi in the early 70s, Crimes of the Heart tells the story of the three Magrath sisters as they deal with grief, finding purpose, and coming together as a family.  As the sisters are faced with adversity both internally and externally, they must find comfort in each other. 

While the play deals with mature topics, the Director’s Note of the play states that they “help convey Beth Henley’s message of improper parenting, loneliness in adulthood, and seeking an anchor by family.” 

Denton explained that she was given significant creative liberty when directing the play. “I really wanted to incorporate everyone’s creative visions when it came to character choices and technical elements” she added. 

In addition, through her experience directing, Denton said she was able to develop “a greater sense of decisiveness” through mutual collaboration between her, the production team, and actors. 

“The most enjoyable part of the experience was being able to step back and watch the cast and crew take the reigns for the performances!” stated Denton. To her, it was extremely rewarding to see the effort they put into the production be showcased for the school.

Ava Messerschmidt (12) played the role of Meg, the middle child of the three sisters who had moved away to Calfironia to pursue a singing career. She explained that she deeply enjoyed Meg’s character as her story was relatable to her own experiences. 

“It was a journey to dig deep into who the character was. She is definitely a loose, fun character that also contains a complex side” she added. 

Makena Mosher (12) worked as the director of the theater company’s performance of Little Women. Rehearsals for the show began back in October. 

The performance was adapted in 2005 from Louisa May Allcott’s original novel of the same name. The story takes place during and after the American Civil War (1860-1865) and follows the lives of the four March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Throughout the play, we see how the sisters pursue their dreams yet desperately try to stay together as a family no matter what challenges they face. 

Mosher described that she was incredibly lucky to “have a cast and crew who went along with my crazy ideas!”. She explained that it was an honor to be given the opportunity to direct. During class, Mosher described she was given most of the period to get together with those working on the production and troubleshoot different ideas. 

One significant challenge that Mosher touched upon was the aspect of turning what would traditionally be a play into a musical. Nonetheless she said she was willing to “take on a challenge and do a musical.”
In fact, the club had originally chosen another musical, The Lightning Thief, an adaptation of Rick Riordan’s novel series Percy Jackson, to perform for the Actor’s Repertory show . Unfortunately, the theater company was unable to secure the rights to the play after having already cast the show and were forced to find a new production to perform. 

When asked what her most enjoyable part of her experience directing was, Mosher said, “definitely seeing my visions come to life. After the first run through of the show, I was in the back of the theater absolutely crying by how proud I was of the cast.”

Members of the cast expressed similar sentiments about their enjoyment of the play. Alan Alves (12) played the role of the romantic Laurie in his 8th performance with the Aliso Niguel Theater Company . He described that the most exciting part of participating in the play was getting to sing and dance on stage. 

He also added that when it came to understanding his character,“I struggled finding what [Laurie] was really about, but quickly I realized that he’s just this weird teenager trying to find himself.” 

Selma Elbalalesy (12) played the role of Jo March, the main protagonist of Little Women in her 9th show with the company. 

“I enjoyed seeing how uncanny the similarity was between Act 1 Jo and me” stated Elbalalesy. She went on to say that her ability to relate to Jo’s character actually made her portrayal of her more difficult. She added “I had to ask ‘which parts of myself can I bring to it and what parts can I not.’”

Many upperclassmen, especially seniors, participated in the main cast of these performances. It will be interesting to see how the company evolves come the new school year. Overall, both directors, casts,  and crews expressed their pride in their work and their positive experiences working on Crimes of the Heart and Little Women.