The cast of Encore! Theatre’s latest production is currently preparing to bring the story of Anne of Green Gables to the stage.
They will perform Peter Delaurier’s adaptation of L.M. Montgomery’s 1908 novel, the story of an orphan girl adopted by a single man and his spinster sister on Canada’s Prince Edward Island. The cast, directed by Gary Gallman, is rehearsing thrice weekly, with Rachel Gallman playing the lead role of Anne Shirley.
“Anne is an orphan who comes to live with Matthew and Marilla by accident, and she’s very imaginative and caught up in her own little world,” said Gallman. “She basically spends the whole play winning everyone over. She’s odd and different from everyone else.”
The story chronicle’s Anne’s growth from ages 12 to 16, as she gets in and out of contretemps with her neighbors and slowly finds a place in the heart of the community. “It’s not that she’s bad, it’s that she gets into a lot of trouble when she’s young,” Gallman said. “The reason she’s so different and odd and she imagines so much and she pretends so much is her way of dealing with the life she’s been handed. It’s a lot about her overcoming that and becoming a well-rounded person and being able to live in the actual world she really lives in and being happy with it.”
Brenda Gilbert reprises the role of Marilla Cuthbert, Anne’s adoptive mother, from a previous production of the play, in which Gallman also played Anne.
“Even though I’m crusty and set in my ways, I take my responsibility raising this child very seriously and I want her to do well,” Gilbert said. “I’m very proud of her, but I’m not the kind of person who can let that out; I can’t show my feelings until the end.”
Siblings Giovanna and Jonathan Salas appear respectively as Anne’s best friend Diana Barry and would-be love interest Gilbert Blythe.
“I am the boy who makes fun of Anne when they first meet because he’s trying to get her attention,” Salas said. “That’s how their relationship starts, Anne has a hatred for Gilbert because of that sensitivity about her red hair. He’s the kind of guy who likes to flirt with all of the girls, but he particularly likes Anne and because of this problem from the very beginning, he can’t get to her.”
Also appearing are John Schmidt as Matthew Cuthbert, Jada Smith and Mira Ward as Anne’s friends Ruby Gillis and Jane Andrews, Jane Somerville as town busybody Rachel Lynde, Shannon Byrd as Anne’s enemy Josie Pye, Carey Garrigus as Mrs. Barry, and Elizabeth Spangler as Anne’s teacher Miss Stacy.
The play will run at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 and March 1 and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on March 2 in the Morris Morgan Auditorium on the campus of St. Andrews University. Tickets are $10 at the door or $8 for students and seniors. Tickets are also available at Hi-Lites in Laurinburg.