Northern Essex Students to Present ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ on Special Outdoor Stage

“Tiny Beautiful Things” features, left to right, Remani Lizana, Natalie Scott, Gwynethe Glickman and Zaida Buzan. (Courtesy photograph.)

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Northern Essex Community College students are performing “Tiny Beautiful Things” this week at a specially adapted outdoor stage.

The college’s Performing Arts and Communication Department presents the play, based on a book by best-selling author Cheryl Strayed and adapted for the stage by actor, director, producer and screenwriter Nia Vardalos. Besides outside socially-distanced performances, patrons can warm up to hot chocolate, hot cider and apple cider donuts.

Performances take place Thursday, Nov. 4, at 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 6, and 7, at 2 p.m., at the college’s Haverhill Campus. In case of inclement weather, the performance will be held under a nearby tent.

For two years, before she became a best-selling author in 2012, Cheryl Strayed was an advice columnist, responding anonymously to troubled readers as “Dear Sugar,” published on the Rumpus website. Soon after the popularity of her 2012 book “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” she published a second book “Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar,” a collection of her advice columns.

Northern Essex Professor Brianne Beatrice, who is directing the performance, said this is a play for our times. “Some of the letters are heartbreaking, while others are funny. We all learn from and rejoice collectively in our power to push through the trauma and persevere.”

Starring as Sugar is Gwynethe Glickman, a liberal arts major from Newbury who is a two-time Kennedy Center award winner. Writing from home, anonymously, her Sugar digs deep into her own experiences as she shares advice with three letter writers, performed by Zaida Buzan, a liberal arts graduate from Brookfield; Remani Lizana of Springfield; and Natalie Scott, a liberal arts graduate from Groveland.

Topics explored include jealousy, work relationships, incest, infidelity, miscarriage, and physical abuse. Because of the adult content, this show is recommended for ages 18-plus.

Tickets are $15 or $10 for students and seniors and may be purchased online in advance or cash only at the door.

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