The Saint Francis Performing Arts Center reopened this past November to welcome the fall play, A Little Princess. Audiences watched as young Sara Crewe, played by Maria Ana (’23), arrived at a London boarding school after a childhood in British India with her wealthy father. Sara, faced with harassment from some jealous students, quickly befriends fellow students Ermengarde—Jacquelyn Packard (’23)—and Lottie—Sophia Fazzio (’23). After the death of her father and the supposed loss of his fortune, she is demoted to a servant girl and treated horribly by headmistress Miss Minchin, played by Roxanne Bobo (’24). Still, Crewe’s cheerful attitude and kind demeanor triumphs when she regains her father’s fortune and is adopted by her father’s friend, Mr. Carrisford—Max Allen (’23).
In spite of having just a month to prepare, the cast’s performances were truly amazing. Audience member Boladale Erogbogbo (’23) stated, “I know that the cast, along with the tech crew, had worked really hard. I could really see all the effort they had made to produce the show.” Director Ms. Laura Rose noted, “I was proud of what we did and how focused we were in the amount of time that we had to put it together. People just really committed the whole time.”
She also emphasized the leadership of several cast members, finding that “we had some real standouts and some very strong leaders. With them and with me, we were able to bring everyone together.” Ava Pisani (’22) served as student director, with lead Maria Ana also acting as assistant student director and student costumer, and Gabriella Federighi (’23) working as student costumer. Regarding her role as director, Pisani added, “It was fun because I have been on the acting side before so I know what techniques and comments help me — I got to direct the way that I like to be directed. I liked seeing the actors listen to my notes and try them out.”
The tech crew returned in full force for the production as well. Crew members “had everything marked ahead of time,” said Ms. Rose proudly. “Their ability to run those cues was pretty flawless.” Responsible for lighting, sound, and sets, the tech crew were a vital and much-appreciated part of this production. Aidan James Sanchez (’22), one of the crew members, emphasized his love for tech, stating that “it’s kind of like an art.” He continued, “I really liked seeing it all come together with the actors on stage.”
With a mix of veterans and newcomers in the cast, A Little Princess served as a triumphant return to theatre for some, as well as a new opportunity for others. Ana, who has acted in several previous Saint Francis productions, emphasized, “I was extremely excited to return to stage. As much as I love working behind the scenes, being on stage has been my passion for my entire life. It was also extremely rewarding to see how people reacted to our performance and how much we have all improved since we last performed on a stage.” On the other hand, Bobo, who participated in Saint Francis’ theatre department for the first time, found that “it was very stressful since it was hard to manage the play and other parts of my life. But I’m proud of the actors and the tech crew for putting on a show in a month.”
Across the cast, crew, and audience, all agreed that this year’s play was a brilliant success. “It was such a cute, heartwarming story,” said Ms. Rose. “And during this time, we needed that.”