Monday, May 5, 2014

The Story of the Sassy (Stinky) Cheese Man, Other Fairly Stupid Tales

Everyone knows fairy tales. They’re the stories full of wonder, magic and enchantment that usually have a happy ending: the good guys live happily ever after, and the bad guys get what they deserve (hence the phrase “a fairy tale ending”). But The Stinky Cheese Man doesn’t have any of those. Instead, it’s full of fairly stupid tales.

Based on the 1992 award-winning book of the same name, the play stars Jack (of beanstalk fame) as the trusty narrator. But despite his resolve, he just can’t get all the characters on the same page. In fact, before he can even tell the first story, a little red hen interrupts him on a mission to find a friend to help her bake some bread. Another chicken, Chicken Licken, isn’t quite sure when she’s supposed to enter either. When Jack does manage to get things on track, the tales he tells are pretty ridiculous. Stories like “The Princess and the Bowling Ball,” “Little Red Running Shorts” and “The Tortoise and the Hair” come to life on stage and poke fun at the age-old fairy tales on which they’re based.

In “Cinderumpelstiltskin,” for example, a beautiful maiden, forced to wear rags and clean her wicked stepsisters’ house, wants nothing more than a fancy dress and glass slippers so she can go to the ball and meet a prince. But it’s not a fairy godmother who visits her—instead it’s a little man with a mysterious name and the ability to spin straw into gold. It’s not an ideal situation for either of them.

Of course there’s also “The Stinky Cheese Man,” the story from which the play gets its title. This little man (made out of only cheese, a couple of olives for eyes and a piece of bacon for a mouth) is just as sassy as the gingerbread man from the known fairy tale—except that no one really wants to eat him.

As Jack navigates these silly stories, he suddenly finds himself face to face with his biggest problem yet—his own story. After all, there’s a giant roaming around who wants nothing more than to get his revenge on the young lad. And in The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales all bets are off…and anything can happen.

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