The Department of Theatre and Dance will wrap up the 2012 production season with “Into The Woods,” a musical about personal goals and community with an unusual twist on fairy tale stories.The Department of Theater and Dance will present the fairy-tale themed musical, “Into the Woods,” Nov. 13-18 at the University Mainstage.
In Act 1, a baker and his wife are cursed with childlessness by the witch next door. They then embark into a forest full of fairy tale creatures looking for ingredients to make the curse-lifting potion.
Along the way, they have to steal and trick characters like Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Jack from the bean stalk story. The characters the couple run into aren’t from the sugar-topped Disney stories, but the original Brothers Grimm tales.
“It’s a dark comedy. So it sticks to the Grimm stories very well,” said Ian Saunders, theatre junior who plays the baker. “The only thing that’s different is the modernized costumes.”
The original playwrights wrote the story with modern portrayals of the fairy tale characters.
Michael Costello, professor and director, said he asked the costume designers to keep well-known celebrities in mind for each role.
For example, the stepsisters reflect the Kardashians, while Cinderella parallels with Kate of the English royal family.
“Its still the same Grimm story, just a modern twist,” Costello said. “I looked for modern fairy tales, like the commoner Kate marrying Prince William in England. Of course the combination of paralleled characters isn’t realistic, but then again this isn’t a realistic world.”
In keeping with that idea, the musical itself takes mechanical turns. Costello added masks to the costumes, requiring the actors to double their physical movements.
Music is also integrated into every part of the play, stretching the students’ vocal range. Costello said the performance is like a monologue that expresses true, inner feeling.
“The music is very challenging. We spent two weeks working on the lines, memorizing and singing them before we even touched the acting,” Saunders said. “But that’s what so great about the play. It wouldn’t be any fun if it wasn’t challenging.”
While the story line is unique, the underlying themes and morals of the musical are common to many stories. For example, the baker tries to set off on the quest in a faulty attempt to show his wife his ability to handle any situation and prove his manliness.
“The man is emotional, and he’s got some serious internal conflicts,” Saunders said. “He thinks in order to convey love to his wife, he’ll have to go into the mysterious woods alone. Like any brave, sure man would.”
By Act 2 however, he and all the fairy tale creatures realize they can’t go on living alone and thinking of themselves.
“The only way they’ll survive the giant is working together and forgetting their plans for success,” Costello said. “It really shows how we can’t live alone and that being part of a community is so important.”
Deanna Belardinelli, theatre senior and stage manager, said the play mixes the fairytale characters of old into a plot with a message that is clear and contemporary.
“It’s a simple message that’s being portrayed in a way that isn’t preached the whole play,” Belardinelli said. “Just expect to have a good time and cry in the second act.”
“Into The Woods” is showing now through Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. each night with an additional matinee Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. Tickets are at the box office, $12 for adults and $7 for students.