Consideration Due A Classic

Consideration Due A Classic

Arts Live production stays true to ‘A Wrinkle in Time’


Though author Madeleine L’Engle would have a tough time publishing her seminal 1962 young adult novel “A Wrinkle in Time” — she sent it to 24 different publishers before she got a “yes” — the book became an instant classic, winning the Newbery Medal, the Sequoyah Book Award and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award.

It was also groundbreaking in several different ways: Its science fiction plot included heavy “good versus evil” themes that many thought too complicated for young adults, and its brave protagonist was a young girl — a rarity in the early 1960s. The first book spawned a trilogy that has, so far, inspired two movies and several stage adaptations, including playwright Morgan Gould’s concise 50-minute one-act, receiving a production this week by Arts Live Theatre in Fayetteville.

Director Jennifer Nesbitt says she was in her 20s when she first read “Wrinkle.”

“I thought it was a great exploration of this awesome heroine, Meg,” says Nesbitt. “It’s a fun story about love and the battles between love and evil, and I just love the science fiction part of it. I couldn’t put it down.”

The story follows 13-year-old Meg Murry as she is tasked with finding and saving her scientist father, who, in the course of his experimentations with a tesseract — in the world of the books, this is a “wrinkle in time” that shortens distance between time and space — has been kidnapped by evil forces on a different planet.

Nesbitt has assembled a talented cast of young actors that range from fifth grade to high school. She says that many in the cast had read the books prior to auditioning for the show, and nearly all of them had seen the movie version released earlier this year.

“One of the actors asked, ‘Is it going to be just like the movie?’ and I said, ‘No, it’s going to be our own particular production. We’ll find out what we love and where it’s represented in the script. We’ll make it our own.’ They were amped at the idea of making their own production after having seen the movie.”

Gould’s adaptation has to condense some of the action in order to fit the plot into a 50-minute play, but Nesbitt says the playwright is too respectful of L’Engle’s work to allow it to stray far from the original plot.

“[Gould] put in the director’s notes that one of her main things was the importance of preserving the spirit of L’Engle’s classic tale.”

Nesbitt says the large cast is required to work closely together as they perform multiple roles in the play.

“There are the main characters, but everything else is created by the ensemble,” she says. “Young actors need a particular focus to be such a moving ensemble, a well-greased machine. The ensemble is on stage the whole time, except for one scene. I’m trying to instill in these young actors the importance of focus and the activity of receiving. One of the most tiring things an actor can do on stage is focus and pay attention without having any lines.

“They really shine on stage. I’m so proud of the amount of teamwork they’re displaying.”



‘A Wrinkle in Time’

WHEN — 7 p.m. Aug. 16-17; 2 & 7 p.m. Aug. 18; 2 p.m. Aug. 19

WHERE — Arts Live Theatre, 818 N. Sang Ave. in Fayetteville

COST — $7-$9

INFO — 521-4932



Arts Live Theatre

2018-19 Season

Arts Live’s new season promises thrills, chills, laughs and classics.

Sept. 20-23 — “Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing,” directed by Natalie Lane

Nov. 8-11 — “Into the Woods Jr.,” directed by Julie Gabel

Jan. 17-20 — “Telling Our Stories,” directed by Jules Taylor

Feb. 21-14 — “Jane Eyre,” directed by Jason Suel

May 2-5 — “Junie B. Jones: The Musical,” directed by Julie Gabel

May 30-June 2 — “Treasure Island,” directed by Natalie Lane

June 27-30 — “The Hundred Dresses,” director TBA


Categories: Theater