For the first time in history “Little Women 2: Wrath of the Undead” was performed and it happened on Miami Springs’ very own stage.
Although the stage is small, it is inviting and by the time Pelican Playhouse directors were ready to get the show on the road, the seats in the audience were almost completely full.
Community residents and family members of the stars were all present to witness the 2014 recital, which was like an “actor fest” of sorts. Different skits from an array of theater, varying in style and era, were performed. Many of them were extracted from famous playwrights such as Lewis Carroll and the renowned William Shakespeare.
Ralph Wakefield, artistic director, chooses each skit based on which one he believes his players will do best in, that way everyone gets a part that they will fit into well. Hence, he chose “Little Women 2: Wrath of the Undead” for his lot of middle school actors because the storyline is fun and quirky and has many roles available for girls aged 12 to 14.
Written by Don Zolidis, the script is completely unique and rather eccentric. Its modern plot in contrast to the relic of “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott is relatable to the younger generation. It contains humorous references to zombies, dinosaurs, strange gods and robots, which leaves the audience amused that such beings would be present in a 19th Century novel.
Although it was her first time on stage, ninth-grade actress Andrea Castillo, who played “Amy” in “Little Women,” stole the audience away with her hilarious quips. “Just playing as a zombie and having to do my makeup was really fun. I really liked being able to talk to new people,” Castillo said.
As a community-style theater, the Pelican Playhouse encourages families to go on stage together. In this year’s recital, ventriloquist Jorge Calil was accompanied by his two daughters, Hannah and Emma, whose pigtails and beaming smiles made for a skit that was as cute as it was comical.
Wakefield said that when families perform together, “It’s not like watching one of your kids in a sports program, where you sit on the bleachers and you cheer for them. In this, you’re on stage with them, you’re doing what they’re doing. It’s a whole different ballgame.”
The opening act was equally adorable when 11 little puppeteers, as young as age 4, ambled onto the stage with animal puppets in hand. Each one was given the mic while, through the animated voices of their puppets, they conveyed a few words of wisdom. Some of them were so profound that they left the audience contemplating life and probably never underestimating a 5-year-old again after that.
Apart from the perky and witty, there was passionate and poignant. In her monologue excerpted from “Romeo and Juliet,” Kassity Murphy stole the spotlight as she portrayed the deep internal conflict that Juliet suffered the night before her arranged marriage to a man she did not love. Through her fervent acting, Murphy was able to stir the audience into feeling the deeply rooted emotion of her character.
“The experience is so enriching and so wonderful that they keep coming back”, Wakefield said of working in the Pelican Playhouse, where the actors become attached to one another as well as the art of acting. For its 15th-year anniversary, the Pelican Playhouse will be throwing a big gala Oct. 4 when they will have a segment called “Out of the Nest,” featuring actors whose roots began here in Miami Springs and who have now gone on to professional careers.