After weeks of table reads, staging, technical work and dress rehearsals, Urban students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to watch Urban’s Advanced Theater Class perform “A Wrinkle in Time” in one week.
This year’s Fall Production is based on the classic children’s book by Madeleine L’Engle that was adapted into a play by Morgan Gold. “A Wrinkle in Time” revolves around Meg Murry and Charles Wallace as they depart on a journey to find their dad who inexplicably went missing a few years ago. “They wrinkle through space and time,” said Philo Judson ‘22, summing the play up.
Many factors went into the decision to produce “A Wrinkle in Time,” however, it ultimately came down to the cast members. “I went through a lot of options,” said Theater Teacher Maya Herbsman ‘13, a new teacher to Urban this year. “I ultimately narrowed it down to two top choices, which I then brought to the cast themselves, and really, it was their choice…I let the students [choose] which piece they felt interested in.”
Herbsman and the cast are constantly in close communication with each other, which is made easier by the small cast size of only six students. “I think a sense of community within our cast is really important since there’s so few of us. We really get along and we’ve really bonded a lot in a short time,” said Orrie Rindal ‘22.
Herbsman agrees that she sees the benefits in a small cast. “I’ve gotten to know [the cast] really well,” she said. “I’ve gotten to spend a lot of individual time with each member of the cast, and as a teacher, that’s really joyous for me…it wouldn’t be the same if it were a 20 person cast.”
However, the cast size of only six people has also brought a few challenges. “This version of the play that we’re doing typically has quite a large ensemble,” said Orrie Rindal ‘22, “so a lot of us are double or even triple cast.”
In addition to casting students as multiple characters, the play relies heavily on theater tech. “At some points, there’s supposed to be eight people on stage, so we’re utilizing a lot of projections, which should be pretty cool,” said Charlotte Shepherd ‘23. “I think we are using six projectors [and] will also project some people onto the stage just because of the small, very small cast.”
The small cast is not necessarily a drawback, though. “Limitations are one of the best things that can happen for a creative process,” said Herbsman. “And so while this has been a challenge, I also think it’s led us in a really exciting direction.”
Despite their small size, Herbsman and the cast are working hard to present the theme of connection throughout the play. “[There are] a lot of themes of connection and finding connection through tough situations, [and how] finding connections through challenges can make the connections more meaningful,” said Shepherd. Themes like coming of age, encountering one’s fear, and powers of good versus evil also emerge throughout the play.
The Fall Production cast is hard at work as the free preview on November 9 (Tuesday of Week 11) at 4:30 pm approaches. Opening day will follow on November 10 at 4:30 pm and the show will be held daily until Saturday, November 13. Tickets are available here, though they sell out fast. Due to COVID-19, there will be a slightly limited audience capacity but the show will also be live streamed for community members who are unable to attend the event in-person.
Having not performed an in-person production in over a year, the cast is thankful to be bringing live theater back to Urban. “I hope that people are just really excited to be able to come and to watch theater done in person again,” said Rindal. “I hope people take away a little bit of a sense of whimsy, a strong sense of self, being brave and standing up for what you believe in.”
“A Wrinkle in Time” Cast
Audrey Douglas ‘22: Calvin O’Keefe (and others)
Zia DiFrancesco ‘24: Mother, Mrs. Witch, Aunt Beast (and others)
Jacob Long ‘24: Charles Wallace (and others)
Orrie Rindal ‘22: Mrs. Whatsit (and others)
Charlotte Shepherd ‘23: Meg Murry (and others)
Eliot Solomon ‘24: Alex Murry, Mrs. Who, The Man with Red Eyes (and others)
Maya Herbsman ‘13: Director
Blu Lezak ‘22: Assistant Director
Philo Judson ‘22: Stage Manager
Nina Oberfest ‘24, Lindsey Bailey ‘24, Adrian Vaznaugh-Sanchez ‘22, Sylvia Hoyt ‘23: Crew