LANESBORO — Last-minute changes in plans drive a lot of people crazy.
Hal Cropp, however, takes a philosophical approach to the last-minute change that caused the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro to make a switch in its long-planned Christmas production.
“That’s theater,” said Cropp, executive director of the Commonweal. “Things happen. You adjust, you improvise.”
In this case, the improvising involves plugging in a production of “Little Women” where the originally scheduled production of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” was to take place, Nov. 21 through Dec. 20. The Commonweal first produced this original adaptation of “Little Women” in 2010.
“We were really fortunate we had developed this ‘Little Women’ script,” Cropp said. “It made the cast switch relatively easy.”
After getting word that “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” would have to be dropped from the schedule, Cropp said, the Commonweal spent about a week looking at alternatives. “But ‘Little Women’ really seemed to meet the needs,” he said. “When we pulled out the script again, giving it a re-read made us think ‘This was a good production.'”
Plus, the Commonweal happens this year to have three female apprentice actors to cast in the play. All in all, Cropp said, “It’s serendipitous.”
Cropp is directing “Little Women,” which features Commonweal member Megan K. Pence, apprentice actors Abbie Cathcart, Elizabeth Dunn and Kami Spaulding, as well as Scott Dixon, Gary Danciu, Brandt Roberts and Allison Alden in her Commonweal debut.
The Commonweal adaptation of the story is set at Christmas time, with the March family looking back at events that are told in Louisa May Alcott’s novel.
Normally, “Little Women” is not thought of as a Christmas story. “Rightfully so,” Cropp said. “It’s not a Christmas story. But the framing device we put on it came from the need to have a Christmas production. It’s a fiction not present in the book, but it gives us a lens to look back at events in the book.”
In any event, the story is ideal for the Christmas season, Cropp said. “It speaks to those core values: family, love, sacrifice,” he said.
In conjunction with the show, the Commonweal will collect new art supplies and art kits at preview performances Friday through Dec. 20, to be delivered to kids at Mayo Clinic’s Eugenio Litta Children’s Hospital. Each patron who donates an item will receive a $5 discount on their ticket.