By Antonia Spano
This article was originally published in Issue 13, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (April 14, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue.
Every spring, the senior class of the theater department produces a children’s show by themselves, meaning that they choose the story, cast themselves in it and make all the directorial decisions. This year’s Act 3 production is “Sleeping Beauty” and is being shown at the Schubert Theatre in the Labuda Center for Performing Arts.
Michele Vacca’s script starts in Pharoffland with Robin Storyteller, played by Justin Ariola, setting the story of the King and Queen’s hope for a child, played by Christopher Skopowski and Marian Barshinger, respectively. The good fairies Rosebud, Moonshine and Twinkletoes hear of their trouble conceiving and cast a spell to help. The King and Queen are so happy that when their daughter, named Rosalind in this version, is born, they invite almost everyone they know to a party to celebrate.
The problem is that they forget to invite the one fairy nobody likes, Belladonna, portrayed by Beth Egan. The day of the party, the fairies present Rosalind with three magical gifts from each of them, totaling to nine. Just as Twinkletoes is about to present his last one, Belladonna arrives, upset that she was not invited, and freezes everyone before giving Rosalind a gift of a curse that she will die by pricking her finger on a spindle on her sixteenth birthday. After she leaves, the King and Queen ask the fairies for help. As Twinkletoes remembers that he still has one more gift, the fairies discuss the best way to alter the curse, as they cannot get rid of it completely. They turn Rosalind’s possible death into a hundred years’ sleep that also affects the castle so that the King and Queen can be with their child.
On Rosalind’s sixteenth birthday, the princess, played by Emily Baver, comes across a stranger who is actually Belladonna, who has a spinning wheel that she is drawn to. The curse activates and everyone falls asleep. The fairies, immune to the curse, put a wall of thorns around the castle to protect its inhabitants.
As the years pass, two princes come to the castle, but do not manage to break the curse. Finally, Prince Stephen, portrayed by Sean Diveny, comes to the castle playing his ukelele and fights Belladonna. He is able to break the curse after 100 years. The castle wakes up and everyone is excited to live happily ever after.
Joshua Hanrahan portrays the clumsy Twinkletoes perfectly, always causing the audience to laugh, regardless if they are children or adults. Another notable actor is Ryan Hagan, who plays the nail-filing Prince Orlando as fantastically flamboyant. Baver’s performance shows the titular character as naive and kind, perfect for the children’s fairytale. The setup of the smaller Schubert Theatre is great for a children’s play; children are even able to sit on the floor of the stage and interact with the minor characters.
Overall, Sleeping Beauty is adorable, as it captures the essence of the fairytale. Its innocent qualities bring the audience of parents and children back once upon a dream.
This play deserves a 10/10 as I’ve seen it twice with no complaints.
“Sleeping Beauty” opened on March 29 and will be performed until May 5. Click here for more information on showtimes.