Preview: Once Upon An Ever After, Ann Arbor Civic Theatre Jr.
What might happen if Goldilocks, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood were to stray from the forest path and into each other’s stories? Find out in Ann Arbor Civic Theatre’s Junior Theatre presentation of Once Upon an Ever After, a fun-filled mash-up fairy tale featuring dwarves, bears, princesses, and surprising plot twists improvised by a talented ensemble of 22 kids ages 6-15.
Director Andrea Klooster collaborated with her cast to produce the script, which developed from brainstorming sessions and improv games - an idea she came upon while teaching a drama class at Interlochen Arts Camp in 1991. “I had recently seen Into the Woods for the first time, and I thought it would be fun to see what my students would do if we mixed some stories together. Once Upon an Ever After is a much more involved version of that idea.”
After the brainstorming sessions, the kids improvised their way through various scenes playing different roles each time, while the assistant director took notes of great ideas and dialogue that Klooster would eventually incorporate into a final script.
The result is both a play that didn’t exist before and an organic process for the actors, mixing familiar characters with unexpected and off-the-wall ideas performed by the very people who came up with them. “Because we didn't cast anyone in a specific role until after the script was written, the actors all experienced many of the roles and can see their own ideas throughout the show.”
Klooster had loads of fun and is proud of the kids’ efforts: “I was hoping the performers would unleash their creativity and create something awesome, and they have exceeded my hopes! This show is full of ideas that I would never have had, and is so much better than it would have been if I had just tried to write it myself.”
Amy Cantú is a Production Librarian at the Ann Arbor District Library.
Performances of Once Upon An Ever After are December 4-6, 2015, at the Children’s Creative Center (1600 Pauline Blvd., Ann Arbor, MI 48103). Friday night’s performance is at 7:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday performances are at 1 pm and 3:30 pm both days. Tickets are $5 for children and $8 for adults, and seating is general admission. Tickets available at the door or by calling the A2CT box office at 734–971–2228. Additional information is also available at www.a2ct.org. Appropriate for ages four and up.