In a previous post I shared how total immersion in the Alcott family has me channeling Louisa and Lizzie. I compared the experience to an actress preparing for a role and I thought of two actresses I know who portray Louisa.
I emailed them both and they have both responded. I am pleased to share reflection on she has truly embodied Louisa in her life.
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To start, I very much resembled Louisa
long before I knew of her.
My childhood experiences (prolonged deep family upsets, uncertainty, numerous relocations, poverty) were survived by an active love for theatre: writing original plays, staging, costumes, programs et al, acted out by local troupe of neighbor kids that I bonded with through this activity. It kept my mind off the challenges. This makes it easy to channel Louisa.
There is a natural resonance with her outspoken nature, sarcasm, candor, wry humor, pushing the status-quo, questioning authority, living outside the box against propriety’s terms, asking to be paid my worth, unabashedly, yet, maintaining dignity, grace and warmth.
We also connect on Walden Pond
I swim the perimeter every summer; that started in 1983 when I moved to Cambridge, Mass. to attend Harvard (Grad School of Education). Five years before I knew about Louisa, I was deeply connected to a body of water she loved. When I was asked many years ago to select a woman to portray for the Boston Women’s Trail project, I chose Louisa because she was first on an alphabetical list. When I read about her it was the Walden-connection that fit at first. From there the similarities grew.
I have served in the Army as a vocalist and overseas intelligence-signal-corp-specialist. She was a civil war nurse.
I have fought for many causes–tough ones–anti-genetically modified foods, fair housing, anti-Iraq War, by organizing petitions, sit-ins, protests, marches, letter writing campaigns and an annual anti-GMO event that still happens in Boston. Louisa did much the same for different causes.
- I am fiercely outspoken. Terrifyingly candid. Scary if needed. So was she.
- I can be brisk (even hurly-burly). So was she.
- I talk fast, move fast and have enormous energy. So did she.
- I challenge people on tough topics and don’t care if they “like” me. Same as her.
- I make a point of being charitable and kind each day. So did she.
I write for a newspaper doing theatre reviews; I have always written poetry, short plays for myself and scripts for my characters (including the script for my original “Louisa May Alcott: Beyond Little Women”). She did the same.
And, I have no enthusiasm for senseless female enhancements: no makeup, no shaving, no perfume, no bras (I use bathing suits so my back is free), no soft-spoken-eyes-averted submission, no accepting less pay, no more doing everyone else’s work to “be nice,” asking to be “paid more!”
Wanting to be anything-but nurse or schoolmarm, working at surviving being an independent actress, and no withholding my views …
Just like her.
My thanks to Marianne for sharing how she embodies Louisa May Alcott. You can see her in action on July 6 in New Hampshire:
Sunday, July 6, start time 11 am
2013 Monadnock Summer Lyceum
25 Main Street, Peterborough, NH
Marianne Donnelly will perform as Louisa May Alcott for the Monadnock Lyceum.
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