‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott.

Little Women is a “coming of age” drama tracing the lives of four sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. George Cukor directed this classic adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s sentimental novel with a shimmering lavishness that is a prime example of the classic Hollywood style at its best. The story concerns the lives of four New England sisters — Jo (Katharine Hepburn), Amy (Joan Bennett), Meg (Frances Dee), and Beth (Jean Parker) — during the time of the Civil War. Jo desires to leave home to become a writer, but decides to stay to help the family. But Meg announces her plans to get married, so Jo leaves for New York City. As she settles down to a writing career, she meets Professor Fritz Bhaer (Paul Lukas), who helps her with her work. While Jo is away, Amy falls in love and marries Jo’s old flame Laurie Laurence (Douglass Montgomery). But Jo is forced to return to New England when she discovers Beth is dying. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi.

I went to the Gate Theatre last week-end thinking that ‘The Country Girls’ by Edna O’Brien was arriving there. Upon discovery from the receptionist that I’d gone to the Gate as opposed to The Gaiety Theatre to book a ticket, my eyes were simultaneously feasted on ‘The Speckled People’ (by Hugo Hamilton) poster in the foyer. I was instantaneously hooked and booked a ticket for the next day’s matinee performance. As I was gazing at the wall within the booking office, I saw that ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott was coming to the theatre soon. I also booked a preview matinee ticket for the play.

I vividly remember seeing ‘Little Women’ in the Rec [wreck] hall at Goldenbridge industrial school, when I was a child, I think it was the 1954 version with Elizabeth Taylor, as one of the child protagonists. It was one of the rare occasions that child inmates mingled together with nuns from the convent. The latter were like aliens from another planet to us. Their clothing too was as bleak and black as the window coverings on the Rec windows. I remember being totally mesmerised by the film. It was the only time my mind could escape from the horrors of the Rec.

I haven’t seen the 1933 edition with Katherine Hepburn, which I purchased in light of the forthcoming play. However – I read the book a while ago, when I started out reading children’s classics. Alas – books of this nature that should have been afforded children, growing up in Goldenbridge were non existent.

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