September 7, 2014 | 2 Comments
A Wrinkle in Time has been adapted for the stage and performed around the country more than 100 times. Recently we received a letter from a young actress who played Meg Murry in John Glore’s adaptation. Madeleine died 7 years ago yesterday, and the letter was such a moving testimony, we wanted to share it with you here. Many thanks to Abigail, who must have made a marvelous Meg.
(Foreword: I’m aware that Madeleine passed away in 2007, and I would first like to say I am so sorry for the loss of such an incredible human being. Those who had a chance to spend time with her are very, very lucky. However, I feel as though I must write this letter as though I am speaking to her. And I hope, in some way, she knows that.)
Hello. For many days and weeks, I’ve been pondering how to word this letter to you, because I have so much to say, however I’m not intelligent enough to put it all into words.
My name is Abigail. I’m a fourteen-year-old freshman in high school from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. (I do wish that you could see me as I write this, because I’m already having trouble keeping from crying.) Let me first say that I received your novel, A Wrinkle In Time, as a gift back when I was seven. I read it a few times that year, and I adored it. As a child, I guess I didn’t really understand most of the deeper meanings and subtext in your novel. As I got older, I read it a few more times and each time I understood more and more about it, and I fell deeper in love with your book.
I’ve been writing since I was very young. Mind you, I’m not very good, which is probably part of the reason why I’ve never truly finished any of my work. I hope that someday I will. Your story of getting this novel published is truly inspiring, and the fact that you never gave up on your work gives me so much hope for my future in writing. I hope you know that you’ve inspired thousands of little girls just like me all over the world. I only hope that someday I can do the same.
From when I was very young and especially into my teenage years, I’ve related to Meg in a lot of ways. I’m not writing this letter to delve into my insecurities and divulge all of my secrets to an author that I’ve never met. But, from the time I was introduced to Meg, I felt a connection.
Just for a back story, theater is a very big thing where I live. On Cape Cod alone, we have probably between 10-15 live theaters. Keep in mind that we have only about 18 very small towns total.
This past summer, I was chosen to play Meg Murry in the 2010 adaptation of your novel at the Harwich Junior Theater, the most highly rated and respected theater on Cape Cod. This was the first lead role I had ever gotten, and I was very intimidated. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and knowing your book quite well, I knew that it might be a hard one to pull off gracefully on stage. But let me tell you, I wouldn’t have traded the past three months for anything else in the world. I missed out on a lot for this production, I made a lot of sacrifices (including quitting my job!) and skipped out on plenty of important school events. But looking back on everything now, none of those things mattered to me as much as this did.
Doing this performance and portraying such an amazing novel is the most noteworthy thing that I’ve ever done. Starting at the very beginning of May, I received my script. I sat in the back of my history class every single day, reading and highlighting and reciting the words to myself until my teacher took the damned thing away. Mind you, this is before rehearsals even began. I fell in love with the words and the way the plot flowed through the pages almost as much as I loved your words- some of them were your words, so I guess that would make sense.
And I mean it when I say that I made every single word count. I worked so hard, for two months to put something together, along with the rest of my cast and crew, that people would find to be as utterly magical as I did.
And from June 26th, 2014- July 12th, 2014 I did a performance six days a week. And every day I got to sit in my bed and witness a storm, I got to travel through time and space in a four-dimensional cube, I got to fall in love with the captain of the basketball team, I got to rescue my father from an evil, mind-controlling brain and I got to be Meg Murry. And there is nothing more that I could ask for in the whole entire world.
And that’s just on-stage. Aside from the mind control and tessering, I made relationships that I would’ve never imagined I could make, I fell in love for God’s sake, and I can honestly say that I never walked out of the doors of that theater unhappy. I have never been as happy as I was and am in the past three months of my life.
For me, being on stage and ultimately being someone else is the only way that I’ve ever been able to feel like I’m truly myself. So, I’m writing this letter mostly just to say thank you. Thank you for letting me discover who I am. Thank you for helping me to meet some of my greatest friends. Thank you for helping me figure out that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
None of this, any of it, would’ve been possible without you.
And you know your characters and your story better than anyone. And trying to figure out every meaning and every emotion behind these words has given me such a deep appreciation for what you’ve done. I cannot imagine the pride that you, your family and your friends feel for all of your amazing accomplishments. And I really do wish you’d have been able to come and see our little performance. I like to think you would’ve loved it.
And currently sitting next to me as I try to type through my tears is the copy of your novel from when I was seven years old. The pages are worn down and yellowed now, with a few water marks and stains that I can’t quite recall making. But, the newest markings in this book are the ones that have been intentionally put there. On the first few pages of your book, wrapping around the title and dedications, are the signatures and messages of the cast and crew from our production of A Wrinkle In Time. The sentimental value of this book to me is something that cannot be measured.
Some of the younger kids in the production have written that I’m some sort of a role model for them, which is something I wasn’t quite expecting. It just goes to show how many people are watching when you don’t know, and how the little things that you do can leave the biggest marks.
Whether you’ve realized it or not, you’re my role model. I truly believe that my love and appreciation for you and your work will not change for as long as I walk this earth, and beyond. I only wish that I could continue to live in a world where your imagination is reality. Towards the end of our run of this production, it got to a point where I wasn’t even thinking about my lines anymore, or any movement cues, or anything for that matter. I would like to believe that’s because I was truly living it.
My production has been over for six days now, and there are dying roses on my desk, ticket vouchers taped to my wall, a poster tacked to the bulletin board, polaroid photos lining my bedroom, and memories that I am so incredibly lucky to have. I hope you understand that in a literal sense, your book has completely changed my life.
And I don’t believe that you’re dead. At least, not to me. People will be saying your name and writing you letters years and years after you’re gone, and probably after I’m gone, too. And deservingly. You’ve shown people all around the world something that keeps all of our hearts alive, the fact that we can be loved even though we’re different, and we can fix things even when we may be broken ourselves. I like to think that I live by many of the philosophies that your book teaches, and that I always will.
As I get older and older, I think I’ll understand more and more what it truly means to be Meg Murry, and I feel so incredibly lucky that I got to experience it. I hope that you’re sort of reading the words behind this letter, because I’m putting feelings into this that the English language unfortunately has no way to describe.
As I thought endlessly about how to write this letter, I never really came up with a good way to close it. So, I guess I’ll use your words instead.
Madeleine, I really hope that someday I find my Calvin. I know you did.