*Photo American Fairy Tales cast OBPA (Submitted)
*Photo American Fairy 1-6 (Courtesy Orange beach Recreation Center)
Fairytales give children some of their earliest opportunities to expand …
Fairytales give children some of their earliest opportunities to expand their imagination. Even adults, caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle, can use an occasional break from reality by being immersed in the magical world of fairytales.
As a way to help children and parents, alike, escape into the world of fairytales, the City of Orange Beach Performing Arts presented American Fairy Tales Nov. 13-14 at the Orange Beach Event Center.
The program included a stage adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s American Fairy Tales by Jessica Langston, the city’s creative director. The play was an action-packed version of four stories found in L. Frank Baum’s American Fairy Tales.
These stories included: “The Box of Robbers,” “The Glass Dog,” “The Girl Who Owned a Bear” and “The Magic Bon Bons.”
“These vignettes explore the lives of a crazy cast of characters,” according to Langston.
In this incarnation of Baum’s work, the audience encountered: three Italian bandits; magic bon bons; a glass dog brought to life and a little bit of everything in between.
“While the stories retain Baum’s original plot points, the stage adaptations are filled with extra action and a fun-filled journey from point A to point B,” Langston said.
She also indicated that people who are unfamiliar with the books will have no trouble following this production.
“The vignettes explain each character and plot twist in detail, so familiarity with the story is optional, but not necessary,” she said.
The stage adaptation took some three weeks to complete and there were many creative hills and valleys to navigate.
“Sometimes I laughed out loud, and other days I wracked my brain. Sometimes the play seemed to spring off the page on its own, while other times, I had to force every word into submission,” Langston said, smiling.
American Fairy Tales was presented through the City of Orange Beach Expect Excellence After-School program. The actors encompassed a wide age range from third-graders to adults. The theater classes are offered four times a week with additional time spent for rehearsals and shows. This wide ranging play had 28 actors and a seven-member production crew.
Orange Beach resident Jennifer McBrayer, who played the narrator throughout American Fairy Tales, said she was “thrilled beyond belief to be given a role.”
This is McBrayer’s first chance to act since her last couple of years of high school, but, this time is special because “I am an adult and I get to play pretend. And, although it is a lot of work, it is also an unmatched thrill and pure magic when the audience has been transformed into the world you are portraying,” she said.
American Fairy Tales was Orange Beach resident Alex Kellner’s first foray into acting.
“It's fun getting to pretend again — as an adult we don't get to use our imaginations very often,” he said.
While he isn’t exactly sure how being onstage in front of a crowd will make him feel, Kellner said, “The most exciting thing is getting to bring the characters to life.”
Being onstage is somewhat of a transition for him, he said.
“I am typically behind the camera, so getting to act out the script is a different challenge.”
Being in the show has also given Kellner an added benefit of getting closer with his two children, Isabella and Ender, who are also in the play.
“They are the ones that talked me into trying out. It is super cool that we are getting to share this experience. They are both much better actors than me, so hopefully I don't embarrass them too badly.”