Long, long ago, a wee duckling, who looked quite different from his siblings, experienced what could be perceived as barnyard bullying.
He was teased and pushed around by the other birds and animals, making him wander around his farm aimlessly looking for a place to fit in.
It’s true the message of Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen’s 1844 fairy tale, The Ugly Duckling, still resonates today, but it also has an interesting backstory.
It’s part autobiographical.
“Andersen wrote the tale based on his own experience of being bullied and teased for his big nose and big feet and passion for theatre,” said Julie Dorsey, an Armstrong-based director who is bringing a musical/comedy version of The Ugly Duckling to the local stage.
Asparagus Community Theatre’s fall musical Honk! touches on a very serious subject, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Although the main character finds himself ostracized by the farmyard community because he is different and ends up going off and putting his trust in the wrong place, the ending as we all know, is a happier one as he finds out who he is really is, said Dorsey.
“One of my favourite lines in the play is from the mother duck: ‘He’s my son and I love him. This duckyard would be so boring if we all looked the same,’” she said.
“This theme seems very timely with the bullying headlines we have faced over the last few months. (However,) there is lots of fun to be seen. in the play.”
Adapted to the stage with music by George Stiles and book and lyrics by Andrew Drewe, Honk! features a cast of 16 — a mix of theatre veterans and newcomers of all ages.
It takes the stage at Armstrong’s Centennial Theatre, 3120 Pleasant Valley Rd., Wednesday to Saturday, and continues Dec. 5 to 7 at 8 p.m. Matinees takes place Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $15/adult, $12.50 student/senior, $8/child (12 and under), available at The Guy Next Door, 3450A Okanagan St., Armstrong, or call 250-546-0950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve.