Broadway Production Produced by:
produced by the Virginia Stage Company,
The University Theatre presents
The Secret Garden
Book & Lyrics
Music by Lucy Simon
the novel by
April 12-21, 2002
Costume, Hair &
MANAGER Mary Elizabeth Bray, Geoffrey Barton
* Member of The Anthony Aston Players
Scenic Art Crew
Draper / Wardrobe
Makeup / Wardrobe
Box Office &
Front of House Staff
*Member of The Anthony Aston Players
Before rehearsals began, I reread my childhood copy of The Secret Garden. I was surprised to rediscover a story of death, abandonment, fear, and neglect housed within the pretenses of a flowery tale of a precocious girl and a garden. The novel was unexpectedly truthful -- probably one of the reasons so many of us were intrigued by the story as children. Burnett respected us as young people and had faith in our abilities to face the darkness of the world and emerge with the light.
In the play, Marsha Norman, the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright who adapted the story, is also faithful to the book's philosophy of dealing directly with death and grief. "Its one of those great, powerful subjects that children want to see because its part of their world," Norman said. "They don't want to be lied to about it. Most adults won't talk to them about it." She added, "Well, we do."
And yet, this isn't just a play for children. Far from it. Norman has shifted Burnett's focus from the story's children to the adults, particularly to Archie (a minor character in the novel). There is also a significant shift from the book's emphasis on Colin's achievements to a celebration of Mary's influence. Composer Lucy Simon said, "What Marsha has done is find the adult story that's there between the lines. The power of the story is not just Mary finding the garden and bringing everything back to life but helping Archie out of his mourning state, helping him to accept and find his son again."
So sit back, enjoy, discover, or rediscover. As the spirits tell us, "It's a maze this garden, it's a maze of ways any man can spend his day. It's a maze this garden, it's a maze of paths but a soul can find a way."
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