Turning classic tales on their heads

by Brittany Wentzell

  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS</p><p>Some cast members of <em>Jack an the Beanstalk</em> just before walking in the recent Lunenburg Santa Claus parade.</p>

The South Shore Players are bringing a bit of theatre tradition to the stage next week.

The drama group is putting on Jack and the Beanstalk - a pantomime by Ben Crocker.

Pantomimes are a long standing British tradition that see classic fairy tales turned on their heads, some even including musical portions from Broadway musicals or famous rock titles. They're also usually performed just before Christmas, despite not usually having a Christmas theme.

And that is exactly what the South Shore Players are doing.

"We've been working on it since mid-September with a cast of 30 members," said director Colleen Hagen.

This is Hagen's first time directing a pantomime and she is excited.

"The first shows I was in as a child were pantomimes," said Hagen. "One of the great things about a pantomime is that it allows for an all ages cast."

As with other pantomimes, the audience is encouraged to interact during the performance by booing the bad guys and cheering for the good guys.

"This one by Ben Crocker really caught my interest and I thought it was really quite, quite funny," said Hagen.

Much of the cast includes old faces, but some are new to the game as well. One familiar face is Hannah Ernest. The 17-year-old Park View student has taken the role of the princess and is bringing her vocal talent to the stage.

"She has a voice that's worth coming out for," said Hagen.

Ernest says she really likes the music the musical director has chosen for the performance.

"The great thing is, they're really open-ended so you get to pick a lot of the music," said Ernest, adding that the musical director played to her strengths and chose high soprano pieces for her.

Everything from Broadway hits like the King and I and Michael Jackson's Thriller will be included in this retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. Ernest's favourites include some Broadway classics with particularly high notes she can hit.

Ernest did a pantomime last year as a chorus member in Cinderella and seems to have fallen in love with them.

"I like [pantomimes] because they can go in any direction," she chuckled. "With a lot of classic sort of plays or musicals, you get the same formula, the same result. What I really like about pantomimes is you really have no concept of what's going to happen and how they're going to end, even from our stand point."

The show marks the last production in the drama society's 24th season and Hagen thinks it's a great way to end the year.

"It's a great crew and it's going to be a really fun show for all ages with a bunch of surprises throughout it," said Hagen

Hagen hinted that next year would include some 25 anniversary celebrations, but didn't want to give away any surprises.

The show opens on December 7 at the Lunenburg Community Centre.

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