Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Play: Grimm Produced by Company One

Reader Anne M. sent me a link to this first article and then my quick news search discovered another one added below.

From Refurbished fairy tales: Seven playwrights join together to create their own versions of the Grimm stories by Louise Kennedy:

Once upon a time, there was a little theater company that wanted to stage something ambitious for its summer show. So the little theater company, whose name was Company One, decided to adapt some of Grimm’s fairy tales for the stage.

It was an idea that the prince and princess of Company One, Shawn LaCount and Summer L. Williams, had long dreamed of bringing to life. But how, they wondered, were they to accomplish such a feat? So they sent out messengers through all the land to request that seven fine playwrights (seven is a very important number in fairy tales; cf. dwarfs, sisters, swans, et al.) should put their hands to the task.

Well, actually, this particular time being 2010, they made a few phone calls. They reached out to some surprisingly big names on the Boston scene: Gregory Maguire, Melinda Lopez, Lydia R. Diamond, Kirsten Greenidge, Marcus Gardley, John Kuntz, and John ADEkoje.


The directors are using the novelist Gregory Maguire’s play, “The Seven Stage a Comeback,’’ as a sort of framing device for the other works. Scenes of the Seven Dwarfs mourning Snow White after she leaves with Prince Charming, then setting off to find her, are interspersed throughout the evening. But this play, like each of the others, has its own distinctive tone and style.

Some of the playwrights used their tales as a mere jumping-off point, with very little outward resemblance between, say, “The Frog King’’ and ADEkoje’s “Cry Baby Jones’’; some took a middle ground, like Marcus Gardley in “Half Handsome and Regrettable,’’ which keeps the characters but changes the story. And others, such as Lopez, in “Stories About Snakes,’’ and Diamond, in “The White Bride and the Black Bride,’’ staged the originals more or less intact.

And more from Not necessarily happily ever after: ‘Grimm’ reworks old fairy tales as modern allegories by Don Aucoin:

Why do Grimm’s fairy tales continue to resonate long after the spell they cast in childhood has seemingly given way to adult cynicism, “Shrek’’-style satire, and empirical data suggesting the statistical unlikelihood of happily ever after?

Perhaps it’s because the tales, for all their preposterousness, touch on something so primal that there is a part of them that stays with us.


But “Grimm’’ works, for the most part, as a showcase of seven distinctive voices who add a contemporary flavor to the tales that underscores their enduring potency — for good and for ill.

(While the playwrights are ostensibly the stars of this evening, the cast acquits itself quite nicely, with especially indelible performances from Tasia A. Jones, Lonnie McAdoo, Nicole Prefontaine, Becca A. Lewis, Molly Kimmerling, Keith Mascoll, and Kris Sidberry).

The frame for “Grimm’’ is supplied by Maguire, of “Wicked’’ fame, whose “The Seven Stage a Comeback’’ opens Acts 1 and 2 and delivers the poignant final moments.

Whereas “Wicked’’ imagined the lives of the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch in Oz before Dorothy entered the picture, “The Seven Stage a Comeback’’ presents the forlorn spectacle of the seven dwarfs after Snow White has embarked on a new life with her prince (leaving behind the poison apple and the glass coffin).

No more hi-ho for this despondent crew. The dwarfs feel utterly lost without the onetime center of their existence. “She stole our laughter,’’ one laments. So they head out on an expedition to bring Snow White back home, and thus restore a sense of purpose to their days.
You can read more about the play and tickets at the Company One website.

Thanks Anne for the heads up! And if anyone gets to see this production, please share your thoughts...

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