Student play to benefit nonprofit encouraging female writers

“Little Women” follows main character Jo as she writes a book about her life and looks back on her experiences. (Courtesy/Playbillder)

A student production of Louisa May Alcott’s classic “Little Women” will be performed this weekend, in connection with the nonprofit Girls Write Now.

Girls Write Now connects girls with professional women writers and designers through mentoring and workshops. Admission to “Little Women” is free, but suggested donations will go to Girls Write Now.

Olivia Piper, director of the play, said Girls Write Now is strongly connected to the message of the play.

“This play is largely about a young woman living in the late 1800s who dares to be something more than the life most would have conceived for a woman at that time: a writer,” Piper said.

Piper said Girls Write Now’s message of “every girl who’s passionate about telling their story gets a shot at exploring it” is conveyed through “Little Women.”

“Little Women” follows main character Jo as she writes a book about her life and looks back on her experiences. Piper said the play is made up of several flashbacks, keeping the show interesting and exciting.

“It's about growing up, falling in love with life, experiencing the beauty and tragedy of change and simultaneously growing from these experiences,” Piper said.

Piper is directing the play as part of an independent study with UConn’s English department. While excited about the production, she said as a student endeavor the budget, or lack thereof, proved to be a challenge.

Fortunately, Piper says the cast’s talents extended beyond acting and some actors were able to help with audio and set-building.

Piper said “Little Women” is relatable to college students, as Jo reminisces on her young adult life.

“The show is absolutely relevant to the college experience, particularly for graduating seniors like myself, who are attempting to discover who we really are as we are pushed firmly into adulthood,” Piper said.

The central theme of the story and this specific production, with its connection to Girls Write Now, is the importance of women’s voices in storytelling and writing. Piper said that Alcott, the author of the original “Little Women” novel, was not always as respected as she is today.

“[Alcott] was originally received as an author of ‘girls books’ and only recently has [Little Women] begun to receive the respect that it deserves as…a book that was and still is very important to so many women,” Piper said.

Piper said Alcott is one of many authors who inspire women, both in the past and today.

“I think that Alcott's voice remains as relevant today as it did in the 19th century, and now her voice is in good company, as women and girls in storytelling and literature continue to pioneer the beautiful, honest and important stories of our world,” Piper said.

“Little Women” will be performed April 14 and 15 at 7 pm in ITE C80.


Schae Beaudoin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at schae.beaudoin@uconn.edu.