by Kate Sheldon
for the Cal Times
On the evenings of Nov. 8, 9 and 10 there was a performance that was put together by first-year students here at California University of Pennsylvania. This is yet another performance that the Department of Theatre and Dance at Cal U has sponsored. The show was called “Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit.” All of the first-year students in the theater program appeared onstage and worked behind the scenes to present this short comedy in the Gerald and Carolyn Blaney Theatre. This performance put a comedic twist on the popular TV show “Law and Order: SVU” while incorporating everyone’s favorite fairy tales as well.
“Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit” is a play by Jonathan Rand. Rand is known for his short plays, which have been produced in 45 different countries with over 6,700 performances in the US alone. Cal U’s Thursday night opening performance sold out fairly quickly. The show consisted of eight recognizable and popular childhood fairy tales that were transformed into modernized versions.
At first the play started out with two detectives walking around investigating the crime scene they had been notified about. In each scene, they continue to question different fairy tale characters such as Jack and Jill, Hansel and Gretel, Pinocchio, the Seven Dwarfs, the Big Bad Wolf and last but not least, the Three Little Pigs. Bo Peep, Humpty Dumpty and a few other characters were also portrayed in the performance.
As the second scene unfolded, the audience members were asked to participate by holding up signs having different pictures on them that they were handed when they first walked in. The two actors in the scene threw out candy to the audience, also. When asked what her favorite scene was, Shannon David (freshman, secondary education) responded with, “I really liked the second scene with Hansel and Gretel. It cracked me up.”
Another student, Taylor Overly (sophomore, political science) agreed and stated, “The Hansel and Gretel scene was my favorite because I liked how they interacted with the audience and I thought the actor who played Hansel was hilarious.”
After the show’s run was over, I spoke with Katie DelVerne (freshman, communication studies) about a few different things, since she had acted in the performances. When asked what it was like to put on a performance such as this, she said, “It was very different than anything I have done in the past. My high school had always put on plays, but the workload and dedication that went into this performance was unlike any other I had done before. Practices were sometimes tough, but the success of the show was well worth it. The long hours really did pay off in the end.”
I was also curious about how much the upper classmen had helped with the performance, and when I asked her, she stated, “The upperclassmen did help with the show quite a bit. Our stage managers, Sarah Martik
and Emily Cutwright were both upperclassmen and put in a lot of time with our cast. Upperclassmen also built the set for us, did the tech [work] for each of the performances and helped with the costumes.”
The performance included a very well spoken, energetic group of first-year students, including Katie, who will no doubt add a great amount of talent to any of the productions that Cal U has in the future. It was definitely impressive that they had no further help and acted on the performance as a whole by themselves!