Turning Everyday Drama Into Gold

Louisa May Alcott's story comes to life. Photo: Linwood Leland Louisa May Alcott's story comes to life.

We all have that one friend we swear would have a really easy time as a television writer because all they’d have to do is write down what happens to them in their daily life. Chances are, your teen has a friend about whom they feel the same. Some lives are just full of drama, sweeping change and challenges overcome.

In our country’s history, there is a woman who must have been the marvel of her teen acquaintances’ minds, because her adventures made their lives look drab. Her name was Louisa May Alcott. Her book, Little Women (you may remember it being on your shelf next to Little House on the Prairie and Charlotte’s Web) was the result of her youthful efforts to make it as a novelist in a time when doing so was virtually unheard of for anyone who wasn’t a white, property-owning male. Alcott struggled to impress publishers with her early writing. She met with little success, until a professor friend, Friedrich Bhaer, told her to demand better of herself and stop considering giving up. Alcott then did what we wish our favorite dramatic friends would do: she started to tell the story of her own (and her sisters’) trials and struggles, set against the backdrop of the Civil War going on around them. This time, publishing houses said, “Cha-ching!”

Flash forward to now, and you’ve got a stage production based on Alcott’s story, Little Women: The Broadway Musical, playing now at Lyric Music Theater (176 Sawyer St., South Portland). This week, there are shows on Friday (1/20) at 7:30 p.m., Saturday (1/21) at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday (1/22) at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $23 ($19 for seniors and children) and can be purchased in advance at http://lyricmusictheater.org/ . Lyric’s box office phone number is 207-799-1421. Take your older kids and let them get swept up in the laughter and tears.

On the other hand, if your middle- or high-schooler is the one in their circle of friends whose simplest negotiations of daily life astound them, let him or her know about VOICE. It’s a monthly storytelling program at the South Portland Public Library (482 Broadway), meeting this month on Friday the 20th. The program is free to participants. Call 207-767-7660 for times.

In VOICE, there is a monthly theme, about which kids are encouraged to tell a true story, using material from their own lives, homes, schools, and communities. As the Library reminds us, “a great story-teller can take even a simple moment in time and make it magical.” Louisa May did it, long ago. At this event, teens have a five-minute slot to prove that they can do it, too. Will ambitions be sparked? Go find out.

FMI: http://southportlandlibrary.com/events/?event_id=5261

Last modified onMonday, 16 January 2017 13:00