We have seen a recent surge in the pop culture world that seeks to re-cast familiar fairy tale characters in a new light, making way for the exploration of the “other side” of the story.
Previously held beliefs of a characters pure evil persona are now being scrutinized, fleshing out a depth that inevitably ushers in the transformation of seemingly flat antagonists into sympathetic villains.
Somewhere along the line, we got tired of blindly accepting villain’s nefarious motivations and started to ask for explanations and back stories to authenticate the source of evil. This literary analysis has shattered the world the Brothers Grimm helped create and complicates the moral lessons fairy tales seek to teach.
Once writers and other creative sorts unleashed the potential for research into the motive of evil, there, lurking behind the typical fairy tale plot lines, a vast untapped mine of story ideas was unearthed.
The reinventing of fairy tales has hit its stride from the crass antics of Shrek to the Broadway success of Wicked, audiences are demanding more complexity out of their villains as the “born evil” model doesn’t fly anymore.
The latest addition to this pop culture movement comes from the brain stew of one of our very own Nakusp Secondary School students, who has taken it upon herself to take a fresh look at some classic fairy tale characters.
Celeste Gingras, grade 12 student at NSS and member of Patrick Macgibbon’s drama class, jumped at the opportunity to write a script when the students suggested that they themselves write an original drama for this year’s class production.
Two complete scripts were presented to the class after the Christmas break and students voted for their favorite. The broody comedy titled Who’s Afraid of the Dark by Gingras was chosen.
This is uncharted territory for drama teacher Macgibbon, who is a veteran director, but has never produced a student written play before. He describes the experience as “great” and is impressed with the efforts he has seen.
“There is a way higher level of student buy-in.” comments Macgibbon, “It’s basically the students’ production and really I have been more of an overseer, but from the ground up they have basically done everything.”
Out of 15 students in the class, five have dedicated themselves to the tasks of stage manager, set design, lighting design, set building and backstage manager while the other students will be appearing on stage.
The play is a mystery-comedy that is packed full of the witty humor that only a teenager could write. The dark plot focuses on the mysterious disappearances of fairy tale creatures from their fairy tale world and is interwoven with a commentary that analyzes the potential of an evil character to turn good and vise versa.
Who’s Afraid of the Dark will be presented to the Nakusp public on Thursday, June 5 and Friday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Bonnington.
In addition, don’t miss the year end performance of the Nakusp Secondary School band. This musical performance will be hosted in the NSS gym on June 4 at 7:30 p.m.