The show is a new addition to the popular interactive series, with a script written by Hedgerow Fellows Colleen Marker and Josh Portera. They drew from several variations of the story, including the original 1740 version La Belle et la Bête by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and a later 1756 retelling by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. “Most kids today know the story mainly from the animated feature,” Marker explained, “so we’ve included a few elements from that so they recognize it, while also remaining true to the traditional tale.”
Marker and Portera narrate the story, and also play several parts, making quick costume changes. Marker portrays Belle and the fairy, Portera is Belle’s father and the Beast, and they take turns as the voice of a magic painting. The children assist by providing ideas for inventions Belle’s inventor dad can make, making the magic sounds when the fairy casts a spell, and roaring for the Beast.
Later, the audience members get to create a story or two of their own, providing suggestions for characters, locations and objects to Marker and Portera, who then improvise a new play on the spot.
Marker has been involved in several of the earlier Storytime! productions, while this is a first for Portera, who is a recent addition to the company. A graduate of Muhlenberg College with a degree in theatre, he has been involved with Hedgerow’s camps since his arrival in May, and he also appeared on stage in Post Haste.
Storytime! Beauty and the Beast runs less than an hour and is suitable for children ages 3 and up. It is also possible to book a performance at the theatre for groups or tours to schools or daycare centers. To arrange a tour, contact Group Sales Manager Art Hunter at 610-565-4211.
Tickets are $10. Hedgerow Theatre, America’s First Repertory Theatre, is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media). For more information or to order tickets, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org.
Lily Dwoskin is a second-year fellow at Hedgerow, and a graduate of Muhlenberg College where she received a B.A. in Theatre and Creative Writing. Lily is a classically trained singer, a teacher, and a playwright. Her play, Rhythm and Rhyme, can be found at Playscripts inc. She is proud to have designed and taught multiple camps and classes, as well as collaborated on the creation of Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, and Sherlock Holmes touring pieces.
Actress Meredith Beck sits down before rehearsal to talk about working on No Sex Please We’re British, going from musical theatre to farce, and playing in the Hedgerows. To learn more about Meredith click here.
Artistic Director Jared Reed
Farce, as we often say around here, is a group of lunatics behaving logically. In the 15 straight years we have been producing summer farces, I think i can reasonably say we have striven to achieve this goal!
Farce is a wonderful genre of theatre in which we in the audience can witness something that if it were to happen to us personally we would be in tears. “What a Tragedy!” we would cry. But it is this distance that allows us a glimpse, albeit comic, into the human condition and that is what theatre is about: what do we fallible, flawed people do when confronted with stress, with a choice, with a situation that we cannot control.
Farce is tragedy seen through the prism of time, as I believe Moliere said, and if he didn’t he should have. And that is how we rehearse the farces - lunatics trying to fix problems of their own making, and the fixing of those fixings.
It is a joy to watch our talented actors and director take us into this world of zannies and create life that is bold and captivating and, above all, human.
But thank goodness it’s not happening to me!