The PVA program doesn’t mess around when it comes to their annual spring musical. This May they put up INTO THE WOODS, a musical intertwining the several fairy tales many of us have grown up with and loved. And indeed, the message that director Dana Parsons (Peragallo) wanted to focus on was one of connectedness. The students of the piece are beginning to tackle what it means to connect with others in a personal way, but also on a national scale.
The musical opens with all of the characters, from the Witch (Miel Hunt) to Little Red Riding Hood (Jaida Williams), focused on their own individual goals. Each character moves through the story with selfish intentions, and things don’t go so smoothly until they come together. “This entire piece is about how we’re all separated but somehow we still are the same,” explains Abby Wenz, a sophomore playing the Steward, “We all want something in our lives personally, and we all have our own multiple goals.”
When reflecting on what makes his character disconnected, Collier Randall, a senior playing Jack, says, “I feel like all he really cares about is him being happy and living a happy life with his mother and his cow, Milky White. He doesn’t really care about what happens to anyone else as long as he can have that.”
“Every choice impacts a future moment and every character must think and connect beyond themselves in order to live in a woods where all can exist peacefully and joyfully,” added Dana Parsons in her concept statement, ending with the impactful conclusion, “Everything is connected.” And this message of togetherness and connectedness is one the students are beginning to see in the performance.
“There’s so many things you can look for,” says Katie Bishop, a senior playing Granny and Cinderella’s Mother, when asked whether she thinks she could relate the musical to the world, “Especially with the divide in the political situation. I know in my own family … it’s led to this huge disconnect because it’s come to a point that we can’t even talk about it without it being a huge fight, and someone saying something that they don’t mean. I know that’s part of the concept for this piece. We should love each other not necessarily despite of what we believe in, but we should respect what everyone believes. No family should be feuding with each other over something they can’t control.”
Collier Randall also felt that people disconnect from others by becoming too focused on one thing in their lives, stating that “I feel like definitely a lot of us in the real world feel like we’re on a quest to get something that’s very personal to us, and we get lost along the way and disregard other people’s feelings and their lives. We’re all connected and people just kind of forget that sometimes.” When asked what he ultimately hoped the audience would come away with, he answered, “If we really listened to what everyone else is doing and why they want what they want, then we might be able to better harmoniously coexist. I want [the audience] to come away with the fact that it’s good to have a balance of caring for yourself and others.”
Students are currently still in rehearsal until April. INTO THE WOODS premieres April 28th at 7:30 pm at Studio 39, 291 Locust Ave, Annapolis, MD 21401. Additional performances will be held on April 29th at 2:30 and 7:30 pm. Admission is free but seats can be reserved in advance. For more information or to reserve tickets, please call the Studio 39 Office at 410-280- 1501 or email [email protected].