The classic fairy tale of the princess and the pea will be presented with a twist this weekend and next at the Washington Community Center as they present “Once Upon a Mattress.”
The show, based on the classic fairy tale, tells the story of Prince Dauntless who can only marry the woman who passes the test his mother, Queen Aggrivan, has set up. No one else in the kingdom can marry until he does, which poses a problem for Sir Harry and Lady Larken, who are expecting a child together. Luckily, Princess Winifred comes along and is able to pass the test.
Directors Don Hughes and Beth McBride said this is the fifth show they have directed together and the first time the show will ever be done on the community theater stage. They describe the show as being “clever with a touch of vaudeville” and slap stick humor. A family-friendly show, it has entertainment kids will enjoy and jokes adults will appreciate.
They said they chose the show because they wanted to pick something that had not been done for a while and that would allow a large range of actors to participate.
The cast of 23 ranges in age from 15-70, which Hughes says serves as a good education for the other actors and allows them to see new perspectives.
“They bring experience and a different perspective. I really think everybody from every generation is learning from everybody,” he said.
Doug McBride, who plays King Sextimus, said he enjoys working with the mix of actors because not only do they provide knowledge, they also showcase what the community has to offer.
“It’s fun for both people. They get the experience and the strong voices, and it’s sort of a reflection of the community which is really what community theater is about,” he said.
Community members are involved offstage ,as well as Hughes’ wife, Lisa, is in charge of costumes and theater manager Cat Nelson has spearheaded creating the set but has received help from the cast.
Jeremiah Carter, who plays Prince Dauntless, said this is his eighth show on the Community Center stage and he continues to participate in shows because he enjoys the creative freedom acting gives him.
“I like to pretend I’m somebody else,” he said. “I get to do things that normal Jeremiah doesn’t do. I really like trying to be as inventive as possible when I do a part, and trying to do the same thing a million different ways.”
Brett Pierson, Sir Harry, in the show, is also a veteran of the theater but does not normally participate in musicals. He said he chose to audition for this show because he liked the directors and he enjoys being on stage and entertaining audiences.
“There’s nothing like learning a part, figuring it out and all the stuff that comes into it and then opening night walking out and doing it without thinking,” he said.
Brandi Glaspie plays Lady Larkin in the show and said her favorite part is being able to make people smile. She said she would encourage audiences to come see the show because “It’s a great family show. There’s something in it for everyone. Kids will really enjoy it, adults will have a good time, it’s just good family fun and it’s always special to see live performances (because) there’s that raw, human element and that excitement of seeing the actual actors on stage.”
“Once Upon a Mattress” will take the stage at the Washington Community Center beginning Friday, June 21, at 7:30 p.m. and continue with a performance Saturday, June 22, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 23, at 2:30 p.m. The show will continue the following weekend with performances on Friday, June 28, and Saturday, June 29, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 30, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door, online at www.wctheater.com or by calling the theater at: 319-653-5175.