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‘April’ in wintertime

for The Brooklyn Paper
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It may be January, but it’s spring in Brooklyn Heights — well, in its theater scene, anyway.

On January 6, the Heights Players Community Theater is bringing the 1920s light drama, “Enchanted April,” to its stage to ward away Brooklyn’s winter blues — and to give theatergoers a production they’ve likely never seen before.

“It’s not a farce, it’s not a musical, it’s not something our audience has ever seen,” said director Susan Montez, who selected the play, which is based on a book by British author Elizabeth von Arnim, after falling in love with the story many years ago. “It’s a bit risky for that reason, but the more I see it, the more I fall in love with it.”

“Enchanted April” follows four dissimilar women who, weary of their lives in post-World War I Britain and its dreary environs, rent a castle and spend the entire month of April on the coast of Italy, where their spirits — and relationships — are rejuvenated. Sound boring? It’s not.

The play takes place 90 years ago, and the costumes are complete with lace and parasols, but there are plenty of parallels between early 1920s society and the weird, wild world we live in today — including war, death, depression, financial woes, and anxiety surrounding a rapidly modernizing world.

“It’s depressed economic times, and after a war, people are feeling very insecure,” Montez explained. “It’s natural to be as controlling as possible, because everyone feels so out of control — that’s what these women were feeling, and I think people are experiencing that now.”

Oh, perk up: just as the four central characters seek refuge in an Italian castle, Montez hopes that her production of “Enchanted April,” will successfully surprise and delight her audience, even those on whom the current social and political climate is taking a toll.

“There’s a lot of humor in it, really,” she said. “I’m trying to get people to open up their minds a little, and the message is beautiful: be thankful for what you’ve got.”

“Enchanted April” at the Heights Players Community Theater [26 Willow Pl. between Joralemon and State streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 237-2752]. Jan. 6-Jan. 22, 8 pm. Tickets, $15. For info, visit www.heightsplayers.org.

Reach Arts Editor Juliet Linderman at jlinderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8309.
Updated 5:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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