Fractured fairy tales at Southridge

Ready to venture into the woods: Southridge School cast members (left to right) Elijah Hewer, Sarah Kavanaugh, Harris Wong, Nicole Moretto, Abby Wells, Bryan Redies, Drew Coles and Adriana Dobbie. - Alex Browne photo
Ready to venture into the woods: Southridge School cast members (left to right) Elijah Hewer, Sarah Kavanaugh, Harris Wong, Nicole Moretto, Abby Wells, Bryan Redies, Drew Coles and Adriana Dobbie.
— image credit: Alex Browne photo

A long time before television's Once Upon A Time, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine posed a similar question in their Broadway musical Into The Woods – what would happen if all the well-known fairy tale characters were following their destinies and motivations simultaneously, and all the familiar tales began to collide and intermingle?

As this week's production of the Tony Award-winner by Southridge School attests, the answer is total – and comedic – chaos. Quests become confused, fairy-tale romances go sideways and outcomes are irrevocably altered.

Judging by a brief run-through of scenes last week , a keen cast – featuring senior school students in Grades 9-12 plus Southridge teachers Max Sterelyukhin, Kierstan McCaw and Doug Barnim – is ready to act and sing up a storm under the direction of English and Drama teacher Jennifer Kelly.

Into The Woods runs tonight and tomorrow (Feb. 27 and 28) at 7 p.m., with two 2 p.m. matinees only on Saturday and Sunday (March 1-2), in the school's Alan Brown Great Hall (2656 160 St.)

While Kelly said it's "light-hearted for the most part," don't expect a Disney princess vision – Into The Woods is more in keeping with the darker hues of the Grimm Brothers' tales, which, she added, "were originally intended to enlighten us through moral lessons."

In the traditional fairy-tale environment, a narrator (Nick Adams) introduces two ordinary mortals – a baker (Bryan Redies) and his wife (Abby Wells) who long to have a child but are denied parenthood by the curse of a witch (Megan Galbraith). To break the curse, they must journey "into the woods"  to find four things – which turn out to be the red cape of Little Red Riding Hood (Adriana Dobbie), the slippers of Cinderella (Nicole Moretto), the hair of Rapunzel (Catherine Mah) and the cow owned by Jack in the Beanstalk (Harris Wong) and his mother (Sarah Kavanaugh).

There are also two princes involved in the ensuing mayhem – Cinderella's (Drew Coles) and Rapunzel's (Elijah Hewer) – but don't expect fairy-tale perfection there either.

"They're comedy relief, playing on the stereotypical prince image," Kelly said.

While the first act of Into The Woods emphasizes the comedy of colliding storylines, the second counts a more realistic cost of characters' choices.

"It's such a magical story," she added. "But it also talks about social and individual responsibility. For a school community it has a good message – that the actions that we do can have consequences."

Tickets are $10. For more information or to buy tickets online, visit www.southridge.bc.ca or call 604-535-5056.


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