Moral of the Story

Feb 26 • ARTSY SMARTSY, TheaterNo Comments

Fraktured Faery Tales for a Mid-Winter’s Eve III
Thalian Hall, Studio Theatre
310 Chestnut St. • (910) 362-2285
March 1st, 8 p.m.; 2nd, 3 p.m. and
8 p.m.; and 3rd, 3 p.m.
$12 • www.thalianhall.com

journeyThe expansive offering of re-ality shows constantly captivate America’s growing youngsters—perhaps an influence which parents should be a little nervous about. But Wilmington is fighting back with their own version of reality-based drama all by way of the pennings of fairy tales. Journey Productions puts a modern spin on many classics and ensures they’re still instilling values, with unusual perspectives and laughable plots along the way.

Known as “The Fraktured Faery Tales for a Mid-Winter’s Eve III,” the show introduces twisted tales and real morals acted out by 37 adults and children. Folks will see updates on classics like “The Princess & the Pea,” Little Red Riding Hood,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” as they are performed with familiar characters and story plots, just thrown into modernized and hilarious situations.

Artistic director and managing producer Cherri McKay says, “I originally thought of this concept and took my inspiration from Shelly Duvalls ‘Fairy Tale Theatre’ in the early ‘80s and the Saturday morning cartoon Fractured Faery Tales.”

Her colleague Zach Hanner loved the short cartoons which played in between parts of “Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.” They would take classic tales and fables and turn them into smart and funny cartoons that kids, teens and adults would enjoy.

Hanner quips, “I always feel like you have to challenge kids and doing these stories in modern ways allows them to connect with the story better than if you were doing some stylized, classic retelling.”

Past performances have portrayed Cinderella putting up with Kardashian-like step-sisters. Though gone were Victorian dresses and silly hats to accompany them, in came cutoff shirts, short skirts with tights and jewelry galore. (Most likely with valley-girl accents and saying “like,” like every other word.)

While Journey Productions intends to set positive examples in their writings, they also work toward fostering young actors who have a desire to grow as performers. Hanner says, “This is the future of the Wilmington stage here and, as far as we’re concerned, that future is very bright.”

Folks will see a new and improved “Red Riding Hood,” not so much “little” as she is tough. “Rather than have Red be a preyed-upon ingénue, I made her tough and self-sufficient,” Hanner explains, “and a somewhat dangerous martial-arts chick. Instead of needing to be saved by the woodsman, she handles things on her own and proves she’s not one to be trifled with.”

It remains one of Hanner’s favorites since he’s been doing some of the rewrites. He peppers the tales with figures whom children can idolize to some degreee.

“I like to be able to present young girls with a positive role model that’s not reliant on anyone else and is capable of fending for herself,” he says. “It’s so important for them to understand they can be successful, courageous, bold and powerful, just like all the emboldened boys we see on television and in films.”

Encouraging morals are still present in the Fraktured Faery Tales sereis. With fellow writers Aimee Schooley and McKay also leading the helm, the key has been to write with gripping attention for the kids, as well as the older audience members. However, the writers use a light, funny and unusual format.

McKay admits, “I can’t say I have a favorite tale, having worked on each tale intimately. Having produced, directed, adapted and designed all the aspects of our show, I have many favorite moments, but will save them as a surprise for the audience.”

The stories will give the audience a chance to finally sympathize with the villains of our pasts, who, depending on which version one hears, may not be so evil. In “Three Bully Goats Gruff” Hanner has turned the goats into bullies, as they constantly annoy the poor old troll.

Hanner adds, “When he (the troll) confronts them, they make things worse by being even more vicious. Eventually, the troll has to pull out all the stops in order to regain his sanity.”

Granted parents and children usually do not share the same taste in entertainment, Hanner, Schooley and McKay had big expectations to live up to as both the first and second years of Fraktured Faery Tales were successful. Hanner expresses his worry that they won’t be doing their job if adults become bored and only come to see their own kids perform.

“It’s using these familiar characters in new situations that makes this show so much fun for the audience, as well as the kids and adults that are performing it,” Hanner says.

“Fraktured Faery Tales for a Mid-Winter’s Eve III” will continue to run this weekend. The show starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 1st. On Saturday March 2nd two performances will be held at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and for the closing on Sunday the cast will go for one last time (till next year of course) at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $12 by visiting Thalianhall.com

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