As the fall weather starts to chill, a popular pastime is cuddling up by a fire with a really good book. Dr. Kathleen Sills took this feeling, and brought it one step further. This November, VPA brings the popular children’s book, A Wrinkle In Time, written by Madeleine L’Engle, to life. Telling the story of a young Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, and neighbor Calvin O’Keefe, they embark on a journey through time and space to find Meg’s missing father, a scientist studying time travel.
In recent years, Merrimack College’s theatrical casts have consisted of current students. However, for this show, Sills decided to change it up. For the first time since COVID-19, Sills welcomed back Merrimack alumni, faculty, and community members to audition. Creating a larger audition pool “for a more intergenerational cast,” Sills believes opening up casting beyond current students will allow this production of Wrinkle to spread its “timeless and universal story.”
Alumni cast in the show include former Theatre Arts majors and minors, as well as former OnStagers cast and crew: Claire Kinton ‘12, Nick ‘21 and Abby Lacroix ‘23, Matt Lannon ‘21, and Sarah Scougall ‘22.
The big takeaway after speaking with the cast is their excitement to be back at Merrimack again. Kinton mentioned that being back at the College after all this time is ‘surreal,’ and that it is amazing to “come back and see all the changes to the campus, but at the same time, see the things that haven’t changed at all… it’s very weird, but very fun.” On the other hand, Lannon says that returning back feels like a homecoming: “even with some changes around [Merrimack’s] campus, it still has that [second home] feeling to me.” Abby Lacroix even spoke about how being cast in the show has helped her reground herself after joining the work-force: “Teaching is an all-consuming profession, and… you lose part of your personal life [by] being present for your students. By being in this show and having time where all I have to be is myself, all I have to do is the thing that I love, [has] helped me regain that sense of self I had started missing after graduation.”
When asked about their favorite things about being in A Wrinkle In Time, most had lovely things to say about their costumes and wigs, the show’s soundtrack, and their one-on-one time with their fellow cast members. Nick Lacroix, though, says his favorite thing is the show’s focus on love: “The whole point of this show is to showcase the power that love has, and we see that through the journey that Meg takes to rescue her father. Love is something that I feel every person deserves to have in their lives, so the theme of this piece really connects with me on an emotional and moral level.”
Another familiar face that we will see returning is Professor Emerita Kathleen “Kathy” Cain, who retired from Merrimack College in 2018 after 34 years of teaching. Though not currently teaching, Cain has continued to consider Merrimack a ‘home.’ From the various hockey games— she has season tickets—to the numerous Writers House and theatre productions she attends, she spends a lot of time back at the College. However, working on this production has made her realize how she misses her daily interactions with students, and that “their energy and enthusiasm is infectious… it keeps me young!”
The collaboration between past and current Merrimack folk was one that Sills was nervous about. “I was initially worried that alumni and students wouldn’t mix well,” she said, “and that there might be divisions between them.” Once rehearsals began, though, she saw the two worlds coming together. “The work ethic on the part of the alumni has been inspiring to the current students, but most importantly, the cast has grown into a real ensemble with everyone collaborating fully with one another.”
A Wrinkle In Time has production dates of November 9th, 10th, and 11th at 7:30 p.m. in the Rogers Center for the Arts, with a matinee on the 10th at 2 p.m.. Tickets are free, but cash donations to benefit the Theatre Arts program are greatly accepted.
Read more about the production in this Campus News Article.