Ahhh fairy tales … man they sure could scare the bejesus out of you! Especially the ones by those Grimm Brothers … And yet, as a kid I couldn’t stop reading them and I’ll bet many of you out there couldn’t either. Charles Perrault, the Grimms, Hans Christian Andersen … I loved them all … And so do/did millions upon millions of others. How else can you explain the popularity of the musical “Into the Woods” or “Once Upon A Mattress” or … (sigh) Oscar and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”? That last one, with Lesley Ann Warren as the girl among the cinders … those of us of a certain age will remember the musical being broadcast annually on one of the three major networks. It was such a big deal. My sister Paula and I would watch it every year … singing the songs …. cringing during the stepmother and stepsister scenes, mesmerized as four white mice were turned into four white horses …. And as Cinderella’s dirty clothing was transformed into a beautiful ball gown …. Impossible!
“But the world is full of zanies and fools/Who don't believe in sensible rules and won't believe what sensible people say/And because these daft and dewey-eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes/Impossible things are happening every day.” (Lyrics to “Impossible” by Oscar & Hammerstein)
I wonder how many fairy tale-loving kids kept feeding their fondness for fright as they grew up with R.L. Stine, then onto Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King, to name but a few masters of the genre.
But, write now, I mean right now, I’ve got my mind on fairy tales. Did’ja know that Feb. 26 is Tell A Fairy Tale Day? Could be one you make up based on one of the classics or something completely original … talk about a fiction writer’s dream! Hey, how about you get together with your (fellow) writer friends and compose one together? And, whatever you do, don’t forget to dress appropriately!
Before Tell A Fairy Tale Day, there’s a new event happening over at the Opera House on Friday, Feb. 8. It's the “Once Upon A Time Family Dance.” Check this out: It's what the former annual Father-Daughter Dance has morphed into.
Kim Keller joined what executive director Cathy Sherrill likes to refer to as “the cast” over to the Opera House last January in the role of box office manager. Kim came over to the Boothbay Register office to talk to me about how it all came about a few days ago – because when I read the press release for the Once Upon A Time Family Dance I was, well, frankly … I was enchanted by and with the entire concept. Imagine!
Kim’s been keen on putting some children’s programming together and when Kevin and Cathy told her about the annual father-daughter dance date coming up, Kim saw this as an opportunity.
Kim is also a gymnastics coach over at CLC YMCA in Damriscotta – and was here in Boothbay for awhile. She decided to do a small scale survey with the families of current and past students to see what the interest would be in holding another dance. Kim also suggested themes and asked which one or ones appealed most. The themes were: Under the Sea, Valentine’s Day, Hollywood Lights and Once Upon A Time.
One of the parents also included a note with her survey asking if Kim planned on doing something for the boys, too.
“I wondered what I would do that would be boy specific,” said Kim. “I decided it should be for the whole family – nobody should be left out. The fairy tale theme was the most popular and there are lots of characters for boys – knights, princes, kings, animals ...”
Costumes are not required for folks of all ages to attend, but, as Kim said, “Costumes will make the night so please dress up?!”
There will be music by a deejay, games, dancing, treats – like poison apples and fairy wands – and drinks – fizzing punches and coffee for the adults.
And the décor? Well, for starters they’ve got a castle made by Susan Brackett (there’s a real shocker for ya, right?!) back in 2004. The eight-foot tall regal dwelling was originally made for the Sugar Plum Fairy (danced by Susan’s daughter Catilin) in a production of “The Nutcracker” at Lincoln Theater.
“When I heard they were going to do the fairy tale theme I brought the castle to the Opera House,” said Susan. “I made it in the frame shop (Harbor Framers Gallery in the Meadow Mall) out of 4’ x 8’ sheets of foam core, PVC pipe, felt – for the banners – mat board, paint and lots of glitter … LOTS of glitter.”
And that’s all the teasers I can give you right now, fairy tale fans … but with Kevin Kiley involved in setting the scene with Kim you know the Opera House will be transformed into well … I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see.
The doors to the one night only (kinda like Brigadoon) magical kingdom will open at 6 p.m., no early arrivials.
I don’t know if we’ll all live happily ever after, but as Hans Christian Andersen wrote, “Everything you look at can become a fairy tale and you can get a story from everything you touch.” So imagination, accented by costumes, props and a set are sure to conjure up a few stories and leave one and all happy for, well, quite awhile.
Did I mention the dragon eggs?!