Suzy Kroeshe, Terry Berry and Valerie Lawdenski perform as Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit, three playful interdimensional sheet-thieves . Photo by Zack Baker
Back row from left, Kate Obrey, Gloria Galassi and Gabriel Cook. Front row from left, Jocelyne Dolejsi and Jane Hite, playing Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace. Director Mimi Adams double-cast young actors for these challenging roles. Photo by Zack Baker
By Kelly Dolejsi
The pandemic has tested, with far too much gravity, Rosencrantz’s famous statement in Tom Stoppard’s play, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”, that “life in a box is better than no life at all”.
This month, someone is banging on the lid and asking us to come out. That someone is Mimi Adams, director of the first play the Los Alamos Little Theatre (LALT) has offered in far too long: James Sie’s adaptation of the classic children’s novel, “A Wrinkle in Time”. So better sit on your pillowcases! The wind is blowing some rather interesting interdimensional beings our way.
LALT’s 2021-2022 season opener is 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays Sept. 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, with matinees at 2:30 p.m., Sundays Sept. 12 and 19, all at the Los Alamos Alamos Little Theatre Performing Arts Center, 1670 Nectar St.
Masks are required and seating will be socially distanced, with small groups of seats available.
“Like nearly all my favorite stories, ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ revolves around love and connection, and how powerful they are,” Adams said. “Love bonds us together, helps us through hard times, and makes good times even better.”
Many will remember Madeleine L’Engle’s young heroine, the stubborn, angry, brilliant Meg Murry (Gloria Galassi/Kate Obrey), and her eccentric little brother Charles Wallace (Jane Hite/Jocelyne Dolejsi), who travel through space to rescue their father. They are helped along the way by their friend Calvin O’Keefe (Gabriel Cook/Mikalh Adams) and the mysterious Mrs. Whatsit (Valerie Lawdenski), Mrs. Who (Suzy Kroesche), and Mrs. Which (Terry Beery).
“It’s really fun to be double-cast as Charles,” 10-year-old Hite said. “Because it’s really fun to share my experiences with Jocelyne — like we are both having a hard time learning all our lines. There are so many lines. There are so, so many lines to learn.”
Hite said she loves the role for a number of reasons.
One, “Charles Wallace is a lot like my little brother because they are both small and they both use big words,” she said. “I also like being able to jump around on stage and I don’t have to be super still.”
She said she can sometimes “not do exactly what I am supposed to do because I am playing a 5-year-old boy.” And finally, “I like being able to bond with the actors who play Meg and Calvin.”
Jane is one of ”members of the Hite family who are involved — three onstage and one, Jane’s grandmother, Sue Hansen, who is helping with costumes and some of the more neurological elements of the set.
Jane’s afore-mentioned brother, 7-year-old William, will be a Jump-Roper and a member of the ensemble.
“I love Mimi [Adams] and I like being an actor,” William said. “I like working with Mimi because she is really nice — it is impossible to describe.”
Jane echoed William’s sentiments about the director: “Mimi’s very stern but also really nice. She doesn’t ever hurt your feelings. She loves everyone and everybody loves her.”
Terra Hite, Jane and William’s mother, plays the Teacher, Beast 1, a Camazotzian, and is double-cast with Nina Johnson as the Happy Medium.
“I love that it is an activity that involves multiple generations,” she said. “I love that we are able to participate as a family and that I get to share the experience of learning lines, getting nervous, and overcoming fears with my kids. I get the opportunity to grow and challenge myself at the same time that they do. And we love getting to know the cast and crew together.
“We got to work with Mimi in The Neverending Story, an experience we really enjoyed, mostly because of Mimi’s incredible talent as a director,” she added. “Knowing how fun it is to work for her, we couldn’t wait to come back and do it again. She manages to be relaxed while working with a cast of 37 people (mostly kids) to bring her vision to life. Her genuine love of every member of the cast and crew, especially the kids, is palpable and the glue that holds the entire experience together. She also has the awareness to tune into the emotional needs of the cast and check in when needed. On top of that, she is an ingenious director, bringing the words off the page alive. I don’t know what to expect and will find myself being such things as lightning, a door, a moving wall, a neuron, or a mountain.”
Other families are participating in the show as well, including the Dolejsis (Jocelyne, Amelia and Kelly), the Seitz-Pruitts (Kaitlynn and Karly, as well as their mother, Sharon Seitz), the Gregories (Melissa, Brad, and Amberlynn), the Clarks (Matthew and Clara), and the Johnsons (Scot, Sylvie, Nina, Heidi and exchange student Helene).
Adams’ nephew, Mikalh Adams, plays Calvin, and her son, Sequoyah Adams-Rice, also appears onstage and has been instrumental with set construction, stage crew and lights. John Faucett, Adams’ father, has also helped extensively.
Scot Johnson, playing Father and a Camazotzian, said he likes being in a show as a family because rehearsal time “becomes family time! And it is always such a pleasure to watch our kids perform.”
Further, “we’ve always enjoyed working with Mimi because she is very creative and hardworking,” Johnson said. “She always knows what she wants from a scene. It is like she’s already blocked it in her mind. It is fun to work with someone with such creativity and high energy. As in [The Neverending Story], this show has a lot of inventive scenes and audience participation. It is a different kind of show!”
Tickets at $15 / $13 for seniors/students are available at the box office one hour before curtain or in advance at Boomerang Consignment and Resale, 1247 Central Ave., open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Kelly Dolejsi is producing “A Wrinkle in Time” for the LALT.