The definition of theatre constantly evolves, particularly during pandemic times. Far From the Tree Productions, the Vancouver-based company sees it as ‘the sacred act of storytelling,’ the origin of theatre. Their Little Women weekly podcast proves that they indeed have storytelling in their blood.
Inspired by Louisa May Alcott’s 19th-century novel, the podcast features wonderful vocal talents, including the director, Shelby Wyminga, Joelle Wyminga and Kerri Norris, whose voices convincingly envision a wide range of diverse female characters from the book. The first episode, the only one available out of six announced so far, introduces the March sisters’ preparations to Christmas and thus, shows the relationship between them and the atmosphere of their household.
The actors finishing each other’s sentences, teasing each other or talking over one another are a graceful team who perfectly balances between the dynamic dialogues and smooth flow of narration. Their work deserves a round of applause because it manages to deliver an actual audio play rather than an audiobook, which must have felt like a risk of this adaptation.
Little Women Audio Play might not be entirely innovative but, it is enjoyable, entertaining and very successful at delivering the pleasure of storytelling. The current themes of female empowerment, financial anxiety and instability, moreover, change a simple pleasure to a theatrical reflection of our times.
Far From the Tree Productions and their Little Women are distinctively more professional than many other COVID-inspired productions, mostly thanks to the neat sound design and editing by Tyler Dumoulin. The effortless combination of voice actors, companionate cast, original music and smooth narration reveals a bright future of the auditory theatrical landscape. The characters of Joe or Beth laughing, whispering and screaming straight to an ear bring a definitely more personal sense of proximity to the story and theatrical experience in general than the artificial online acting on the side of a computer screen.
New episodes come out every Saturday until December 19 and are available on all podcasting platforms, including Spotify, YouTube, Apple and Google. All streaming links can be found here.