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Kate Bianco makes an impact through her directing of "Little Women"

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"Little Women," directed by senior theatre arts major Kate Blanco, opens this weekend at the Del Rey Theatre. Blanco was inspired by the loss of a good friend to stage this play. 

The March sisters’ story is one of grief.  But what you won’t see on stage is how the director, senior theater and multimedia arts double major, Kate Bianco, used the story to process her own loss.

Director Bianco said she was inspired to stage the play after the death of her friend and fellow Lion, Bianca Red Arrow, last year. She wanted to use the play to explain her own emotional process. 

“After she passed away, I was in this really weird state of grief,” Bianco said. “The show talks so much about grief that I was, like, ‘I need someone else to understand how I am feeling.’”

The show is based on the novel — written by Louisa May Alcott in 1868 — about four sisters living in Civil War-ridden New England while their father is away fighting in the war. The March sisters are tasked with helping their mother, Marmee, keep their household in check. The story exists in the perspective of all four sisters during the time that their father is away. 

“‘Little Women’ has been with me for a long time. I was actually in a production of it when I was a junior in high school, so I’ve known about it for about six years. Every time I come back to it, it makes me think ‘Oh, this is why I love that show’,” Bianco said.

Grief overcomes each and every one of us at one point or another in our lifetimes. For Bianco to display it through such an exquisite form of art is riveting. ‘True art’ can be interpreted as anything. I believe a solid definition of the phrase true art is when an artist’s ray of emotions are flowing and becoming the muse of their creation — in this case, Bianco’s cast. Going to see Bianco’s production of “Little Women” will not only make for a splendid night at the theatre, but it can also serve as a beneficial wave of nirvana.

“It’s touched a lot of people. It has healed me personally in the past year and I can see it starting to heal the actors in the show,” Bianco said. “They have all gone through [their] own stages of grief. Several of the actors have lost people that are very close to them. For them to have the opportunity to work through their grief in the show is really special and that tenderness really comes through.”

The play will be a very special production because out of the 10 cast members, seven are freshmen. “The talent that these guys have as freshman is talent I don’t even have as a senior,” Bianco said. It will be exciting to watch what is sure to be a mature emotional journey be taken on by a primarily younger cast.

Buckle your seat belts and hold on tight because we’re in for an emotional ride. Bianco hopes to reach “every audience member’s” emotional threshold, so that they can connect and bond to the play in the same manner she does — but through their own eyes.

“Little Women: The Musical” opens Oct. 11 and will run through Oct. 20. The production will take place in the Del Rey Theatre and tickets can be purchased online through The Del Rey Players’ Facebook page. I will definitely be attending to confront my inner grief, will you?

This is the opinion of Caroline Iglesias, a sophomore communications studies and political science major from Riverside, CA. Tweet comments to @urban_cuban or email comments to jcornblatt@theloyolan.com.

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