Cent. treads Into the Woods
Centennial secondary’s musical theatre students are delving into the dark side of classic fairy tales in their upcoming production of Into the Woods, playing this week and next.
It’s a fairy tale with a twist, says Grade 12 student Riley Nordin, who plays the Witch, because not all the characters enjoy a happy ending.
“Or if it they are happy, they’re made unhappy,” Nordin said.
Based on the book by James Lapine, with music and lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods combines the stories of several tales, from Cinderella to Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and many more.
At the heart of it are the baker and his wife, left childless because of a curse placed on the baker’s family after his father was accused of stealing “magic beans” from the witch. As an added punishment, the witch also took the baker’s father’s newborn child, Rapunzel.
To lift the infertility curse, the baker and his wife “must venture into the woods to retrieve items from other fairy tales,” said Lisa Boddez, the play’s director.
The items are ingredients needed by the witch for a particular potion — a cow as white as milk, a cape red as blood, hair as yellow as corn and a slipper pure as gold — all within three days.
During their quest the baker and his wife encounter many recognizable characters, from Jack (of Beanstalk fame) to Little Red Ridinghood, Cinderella and Rapunzel.
And while the first act ends with the cast enjoying their “happily ever afters,” the second act shows that all is not as it seems.
“The second act is about dispelling all these fairy tale ideals,” Boddez said, hinting that “Prince Charming is not so charming.”
“It’s what would happen to the fairy tale characters if they were in the real world,” added Rajan Prasab, the Grade 11 student playing the baker.
The narrator is sacrificed to the beanstalk giant’s widow, Rapunzel’s prince seems to have eyes for another woman and Cinderella’s prince and the baker’s wife end up in an amorous liaison.
Boddez admits that some of the themes are geared for an adult audience but notes, “we did try to tone it down a little, so it should mostly go over [the cast’s] head a bit.”
The cast and crew of 47 are part of Centennial’s musical theatre program, and are working on everything from set design to costumes and props, in addition to acting. They’re backed up by a full orchestra of 15 student musicians as well.
• Into the Woods runs in Centennial secondary’s theatre (570 Poirier St., Coquitlam) Feb. 7 to 9 and Feb. 14 to 16 at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.). Tickets are $15/$12, available at the school office and at the door of the show.