#3. The new television shows, “Grimm” and “Once,” have stirred up my fairytale memories. These series, very different in nature, have gotten me remembering the details of childhood stories. Kids playing in the forest. Fathers remarrying. Talking animals. Where’s the danger? Today’s kids may be desensitized to violence from exposure to movies and video games. But for centuries, generations of children have enjoyed folklore riddled with oppression, cannibalism, bestiality, and murder.
Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries presents HOW TO SURVIVE A FAIRYTALE. Jack doesn’t know jack about fairytales. His parents never clued him into the pretend world. His bedtime stories have been IKEA instruction manuals and cookbooks. He hasn’t had a *normal* childhood. His mom thinks she’s a princess. And his dad IS a frog. One night, a book sends Jack into the enchanted forest. The woods are full of bears and a wolf and kids! What’s going on? Before he can return home, Jack needs to help others find their happily everafter. HOW TO SURVIVE A FAIRYTALE is a family-fun romp down memory lane.
Playwright James E. Grote starts with a fascinating premise: a sheltered kid with no knowledge of fairytales. Grote then cleverly layers in the truly bizarre nature of fairytales. His plot and dialogue are smart and witty. The familiar gets a new amusing twist as characters explain their backstory to Jack. Through Jack’s eyes, the audience has a hilarious what-are-we-telling-our-kids epiphany. Nathaniel Niemi (Jack) captures the innocence perfectly. An animated Niemi narrates his discovery like a self-improvement-how-to-book. Niemi charmingly plays a kid that has the sensibilities of an adult. At one point, Niemi talks a marvelously wicked Heather Currie into eliminating meat from her diet. Under the direction of Shole Milos, the entire talented ensemble knows how to make-believe. They transform into multiple roles magically. Milos casts a spell pacing the fairytale action as a page-turner. And Costume Designer Jana Anderson twirls the whimsy by waving her wand to change a princess to a witch and then to a goat. This family-friendly spectacle dazzles with an impressive amount of colorful costume changes.
And it’s not all once-upon-a-time stuff, Grote weaves in real life lessons as survival tips. ‘Clean up your mess,’ ‘be nice,’ ‘help someone out,’ ‘there may be kissing’ are the wise takeaways for tots to elders. These simplistic resolutions can change anyone’s story. HOW TO SURVIVE A FAIRYTALE is a fantasy boot camp. It will reshape how you look… at things. You may even be friendlier to the next troll you meet.
Running Time: Sixty minutes with no intermission
Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood
Written by James E. Grote
Directed by Shole Milos
Saturdays at 1pm
Sundays at 11am and 1pm
Thru February 26th
Buy Tickets at www.lifelinetheatre.com