Into the Woods, the Stephen Sondheim musical-turned-movie, was one of the first productions to intertwine the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairytales into a whole new story.
TV’s Once Upon a Time has done a similar mash-up with some of the Grimms’ best known fairytale characters, along with about a thousand others.
And now the theatrical production class at Kalamalka Secondary School is getting in on the fairytale action when the students stage The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon.
Not too unlike British comedy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare or Canadian playwright/performer/director TJ Dawe’s One-Man Lord of the Rings/Star Wars Trilogy, this irreverent, fast-paced romp takes its audience through the complete works of the Brothers Grimm – that’s 209 fairytales in the span of 100-110 minutes.
“The students sourced the script and they laughed at it. They thought it was the funniest thing since sliced bread,” said Kal drama teacher Shon Thomas. “It’s a campy take. The fourth wall is broken and there is some audience participation. The show is geared for kids, but there will be jokes that adults get.”
Written by Don Zolidis, the fairytales and characters in The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon are turned on their heads as two student narrators and several actors attempt to combine all the stories.
The play features all the tropes of a Grimm fairytale: peer pressure, dysfunctional queens, a frog prince and a girl with no hands – yes, you read that right.
The stories range from classics such as Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, The Frog Prince and Hansel and Gretel to more bizarre, obscure stories such as The Devil’s Grandmother and The Girl Without Hands.
“The Brothers Grimm took stories from Southern France and Northern Germany, and this gives the stories a disjointed through line, but everyone is connected, theoretically,” said Thomas.
The students in the theatre production class not only chose the script and star in the play, they have designed and built the set, and made some of the costumes they wear. Making sure that everyone and everything is on cue are stage managers Dylan Molloy and Nathan Randell, both in Grade 12.
“It works best when the Grade 12 students lead the class and I can take a step back,” said Thomas.
The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon stages May 25 to 28 and 31 and June 1, 3 and 4. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10/adults and $5 for students/seniors.