The Hippo


May 27, 2020








Aly Aramento (of Londonderry) plays the titular role in Peacock Players’ upcoming production of Aida. Courtesy photo.

See Aida

Where: Janice B. Streeter Theatre, 14 Court St., Nashua
When: Friday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m.; Saturday Nov. 12, at 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 13, at 2 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m.
Admission: $12-$17
Contact:, 886-7000

Love stories
Peacock Players presents Aida this weekend and next

By Kelly Sennott

 Love stories are “terribly important,” in Peacock Players Artistic Director Keith Weirich’s opinion — it’s one of the reasons he wanted Aida as the youth theater company’s next major production. 

Aida, which hits Janice B. Streeter Theatre Nov. 11 through Nov. 20, is based on Giuseppe Verdi’s opera of the same name. It follows an Ethiopian princess, Aida, held prisoner in Egypt. She falls for the captain of the Egyptian army, and he falls for her too. The problem: he’s already engaged to the pharoah’s daughter. 
The show features music by Elton John and Tim Rice and a book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls and David Henry Hwang. 
The Peacock Players performed Aida about 10 years ago. Weirich doesn’t repeat shows often, but this tale about forbidden love is a favorite. It’s tragic, almost Shakespearean, but also beautiful and uplifting, which he thinks a lot of people are looking for in theater right now. 
“I’m a sucker for a love story,” Weirich said during an interview at a recent rehearsal. “I have true love in my life, so I’ve seen that power, but I also like the fact that the show doesn’t offer a suggestion that love answers any problems. … It compounds issues. It’s certainly a worthwhile endeavor, but it doesn’t magically make anything okay. … You don’t get to choose who you fall in love with. It chooses you, in a sense.”
Weirich also thought teens would relate to Aida; all its main characters are wrestling with obligations to parents, their nations’ people and what they want personally. 
“And all those things are in direct conflict with each other at any given moment,” Weirich said. “Three of the leads are seniors, and they’re on the verge of deciding what they want to do. … They’re at a place where they’re learning who they are as individuals, and where they meet and rock against their parents.”
And of course, there’s the timeless theme of young love.
“I think a big part of the show is the romance of it — that idea of forbidden love. As teenagers, we’re going through all these different kinds of relationships, so I think everyone can kind of relate to this in some way,” said Eliza Richards, 17, who performs as Amneris, the pharoah’s daughter. 
The story is told in a flashback; the first scene occurs in a modern-day archeological dig site (different from the original script’s museum setting), where actors will sport shorts, hard hats and headlamps, and will dig up props audiences will see in action by the show’s end. 
The scenery includes one unit set depicting an Egyptian tomb burial chamber, with paintings by Jessie McCoy, and the choreography is modern with a hip-hop, tribal flair, courtesy of Valerie Psoinos Nelson. The tunes are modern, which the kids like.
“I like that it’s not super musical theater. It’s very rock and roll,” said Aly Aramento, 18, who performs as Aida.
Richards said she joined the cast because she loved being part of Chicago last year, her first production with Peacock Players, and Aramento agreed. They said a strange thing happens when rehearsal begins — everything else melts away. It’s the kind of reaction they hope audiences have as well.
“It’s a nice love story, which you can watch for a couple of hours and get away from everything else,” Aramento said. 

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