This production of Little Women was presented in the Troutt Theatre at Belmont University in the fall of 2021. My design's aim was to look at the divide between the sister's "safe space" in their home and with family versus the outside world. I wanted to portray that divide with different tones of music. The safe spaces would be warm, piano based, and authentic. There are many moments in the home that were great for underscoring and adding more emotion to the scene. I wanted the outside world and its societal expectations to be mores uptight and cold by using full orchestral and band pieces. Places like the ball, the publishing office, and Aunt March's house all have a different and much bigger style of music leading in or during those scenes.
The play opens with a ticking clock blending into music as Jo tells Beth a story. I wanted the ticking to represent the societal expectations that is put on girls of that time period and the music to represent their safe space within their home. That ticking pops up throughout the play and gets progressively faster as Beth gets sicker, and the outside world forces the girls the face society's expectations. Near the end of show, Beth is at her sickest. She cares deeply for her family, and when they start to fight with each other, it hurts her as well. After a huge argument, Beth feels extremely overwhelmed by the state of her family and her illness has a sudden resurgence. This sound was meant to serve as an insight as to what was going on in Beth's head at the time. I visited a rehearsal to record the argument between Jo and Amy, as that was the climax of their rocky sisterhood.
The toughest part about Little Women were the specific piano songs the script specified. The March sister's theme was Battle Hymn of the republic that was both played and sung throughout the show. I worked with a pianist help record these cues for the performers to play along with on stage. He assisted in helping me curate the sound of both the "broken piano keys" and the fixed one of their upright household pianos.