The Lawrence Jones Drama Department looks to outdo itself in April with two full length productions based on fairy tales starring many well-known fairy tale characters. Director Jill Zschach knows no limits when it comes to involving students in drama.
Over thirty students wanted to be a part of the spring play. Zschach, who never turns away any student who wants to perform, faced a dilemma that could only be solved by presenting two plays instead of one. She selected two shows both about famous characters from fairy tales: “Chasing Charming” and “The Princess Who Had No Name.”
“The Princess Who Had No Name” will be presented in the Lawrence Jones Presentation Hall Fri., Apr. 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Sat., Apr. 6 at 1 p.m. “Chasing Charming” will follow Sat., Apr. 6 at 6:30 p.m. and Fri., Apr., 12 at 6:30 p.m.
Combined, the two shows have more than 50 parts played by over thirty students. Nine students will be working backstage operating lights and sounds and making sure that props are ready and actors make their cues: Shyann Rappolt, Amber Coffman, Alayna Siwy, Jonathan Gomez, Lillyan Fillwood, Ryan August, Noah Beran, Marlowe Rasmuson and Sophia Kulpa.
Zschach and her crew have designed set backdrops that work for both plays. Rectangular screens that are each about five feet tall and about three feet wide are shaped like triangles. By rotating the screens, a leafy forest or the shingled exterior of a palatial retreat or the interior wall of a palace is produced. A fifth screen is centered and becomes either a black or dark part of the forest or it is a door leading into or out of the building.
“The Princess Who Had No Name” begins by giving the sense of a classic fairy tale but soon gives way to a fractured fairy tale while providing a mystery that will be solved as the story moves along. A young lady awakes in a tower in the forest and has no memory of the past. She does not remember her name, where she’s from, or how she got there.
The real fun begins as she starts her journey to recall her past. She encounters several well known figures from fairy tales: Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Rumpelstiltskin, among others. Some are helpful such as Gretel and some are not such as Hansel. Others are dangerous but all have information that connects with her quest and will contribute to help her recall her own story.
The prince, seeking her desperately, seems to always just fail to find her. He often rescues and wins the hearts of other princesses. With all of these characters and new takes on old stories, the princess’s pursuit of her identity will hold the suspense of the audience until the hopeful happily ever after ending.
Many of these wonderful characters appear in “Chasing Charming.” The frame of the story concerns a professional narrator who, with the help of a fairy godmother, must recertify her narrator’s license. Another magical journey, this trip includes not just the many characters seen in “The Princess Had No Name” but also evil minions who interfere with the quest. Will the narrator redeem her storytelling license? Will Charming be caught? And will the audience hear those important concluding words to a fairy tale, “And they all lived happily ever after”?
One thing is sure, many of the students at Lawrence Jones work hard to present two spring productions. And, one more thing, Director Jill Zschach has created two marvelous opportunities for these middle school students to participate in two fun dramatic productions. See “The Princess Who Had No Name” at the Lawrence Jones Presentation Hall Fri., Apr. 5 at 6:30 and Sat., April 6 at 1 p.m. Then view “Chasing Charming” in the same theater Sat., Apr. 6 at 6:30 p.m. or Fri., Apr. 12 at 6:30.