By ALEC CLAYTON
Inspired by a true story, The Hundred Dresses tells the story of Polish immigrant Wanda Petronski and the bullying she endured at school. Petronski’s classmate, Maddie, stands up to hostile classmates and makes an unlikely friend in the process. Olympia Family Theater describes the play as “a poignant tale of bullies and bystanders.”
The script was written by Mary Hall Surface, adapted from a book by Eleanor Estes. In an email, director Samantha Chandler wrote, “When I read the story, I was moved both by the honesty of the tale [and] its connection to today’s world. Set in a small Connecticut town in the late 1930s, it revolves around a group of children trying to make sense of ‘difference, especially as it relates to immigrants who don’t sound ‘like us.’ When a Polish family moves to town and a young girl tries to connect with her classmates, she is taunted and maligned. One girl recognizes the ways her silence and complicity support the hateful behavior and works to redeem herself after the new girl’s talents and struggles have been revealed. Unfortunately, this tale continues to resonate in our country, and we need to learn those lessons [and teach] them to our children.”
Abigail Hamilton plays Petronski, and Simone Meade plays Maddie. Rounding out the cast are Finn Austin, Debe Edden, Keith Eisner, Mike Gregory, Serean Kim, Will Livingston, Dasha Miltimore, Rebecca Rogers and Nick Zimmerman.
Co-founded by Samantha Chandler and Jen Ryle in 2006, Olympia Family Theater offers plays for all ages, but usually geared to children and performed by adult actors. The Hundred Dresses is recommended for ages 7 and older.
The Hundred Dresses
7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays,
2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, March 15-31
Olympia Family Theater,
612 Fourth Ave. E, Olympia
$15-$20 (March 21 is pay-what-you-can)