Friday, March 23, 2012

It's an Old Favorite—With a Twist!

Brooke Boukather 
(Teen Briar Rose)
and Lindsey Trouple (Teen Owain). 
The fantastical world in this Sleeping Beauty is totally hip.  But the urban kingdom still has the same big problem—a curse has been put on its royal princess.

South Coast Repertory’s Junior Players are the hipsters in this stage version of the classic fairy tale, adapted by Charles Way.  Directed by Mercy Vasquez, Sleeping Beauty will be presented in SCR’s Nicholas Studio March 24-April 2.

In Way’s modern (and very funny version), the  king and queen squabble over ways to prevent Princess Briar Rose from falling into a 100-year sleep—to no avail.  Even the bright witch Branwen can’t stop her sister, the dark (very dark) witch Modron, from carrying out the evil plan. And no matter how hard he tries, Briar Rose’s faithful half-dragon/half-man sidekick is powerless, too.  It’s up to the timid prince next door to conquer the forces of evil (man and beast) and awaken Briar Rose.  All he really needs is a little self-confidence.  Will he find it?

The cast of Sleeping Beauty can’t wait to answer that question for you! They’re the 14 members of SCR’s Junior Players (grades 6-8), who were chosen through audition after at least two years in the Youth Conservatory. The Junior Players attend class twice weekly during the school year, with additional rehearsal time prior to their annual performance.  Instructor-director Vasquez is with the students throughout ten weeks of class, ten weeks of rehearsal/performance and then back to class for the remaining ten weeks.

Benjamin Dilsisian (King Peredur), Brooke Boukather 
(Teen Briar Rose),
Lindsey Troupe (Teen Owain) and Lauren Castleton (Queen Guinevere).
According toVasquez, “This adaptation spoke to me because it’s unlike the Sleeping Beauty of my childhood. While it remains a classic tale of good verses evil, things are not always what they may appear to be, and this script plays against the conventional beliefs of what it means to be a "princess" and a "hero." The characters behave in ways that are unexpected, leaving you to ponder the question, "Who is truly good and who is truly evil?"

Vasquez graduated from UCLA with majors in English Literature and Theatre and received dramatic training at King’s College in London, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Professional Acting Program in SCR’s Theatre Conservatory.  She has performed on stage at SCR, Garden Grove Playhouse, Theater Theater and Heritage Square Theater.

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