Wednesday, December 10, 2014
“ONCE UPON A TIME” IS A SMASH HIT
Monday evening’s presentation in the Clubhouse of the Act II Community Theater’s “Once Upon a Time—A Fairy Tale Gone Amok” was a smash hit.
Arriving with my neighbor Terry French in what I thought was plenty of time (a half hour early), I found it was not. A line of people extended from the Classroom C door around the cubicle in the front lobby with the two guards. Luckily we got seats. The much-larger Classroom C—booked because of overflow audiences for the first two Act II Community Theater performances in second-floor Classroom B—was still not large enough. About 75 people had to be turned away. Apologies from all the Act II personnel to all who didn’t get to see the show. Hopefully the group can reserve an even larger facility (it will have to be the theater because the party room won’t work for shows) for their next production.
Would the performance be up to what this eager crowd anticipated? I would say it was—in spades. I thought the actors, which included four dancers, did extremely well considering the fact they are past their prime, ranging in age from 57 to almost 90. Most of them have not acted professionally; many have never acted before. Some of them struggled to learn their lines, I happen to know, and they did learn them for the most part, very well.
The brainchild of our talented Kitty Gragg, “A Fairy Tale Gone Amok” was exactly what this show was. It was about Cinderella—but was it? With great hilarity, characters from Sleeping Beauty and other fairy tales were soon getting into the mix. But it all came together. Not only did Cinderella marry the prince, but the two false princes (from other fairy tales) fell in love with Cinderella’s stepsisters, and even the evil stepmother found her “true love” in Geppetto, the creator of Pinocchio.
The audience, to me, was amazing. They caught on very quickly to what was going on and were laughing and applauding constantly. When the Big Bad Wolf, from Little Red Riding Hood, came onstage and sang in a threatening manner to Cinderella, the audience began spontaneously clapping in rhythm with the song. Later, something sad happened to one of the characters—I forget exactly what now—and the audience, in empathy, actually moaned. I couldn’t believe how INTO the story and the performers the audience was. This, Kitty told me afterward, in turn helped the actors do better.
I could go on to cite hilarious moment after hilarious moment and name those who did so well in the play, but space won’t permit here. Suffice it to say, “Once Upon a Time” was a treat for us all.