Last July 21, 2011 my friends and I watched a local play entitled Grimm Tales. I was captured by the poster plus the fact that my friends are into fairy tales and Disney’s. Anyways tickets is reasonable so might as well entertain ourselves.
Every time I heard of the last name Grimm it reminded me of these movies – The Brothers Grimm (2005) which stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, the story is more like a medieval ghost busters where the brother and his crew protect townsfolk from enchanted creatures by performing exorcisms. It’s all a hoax as their group are con artists pretending to help villagers rid of the monsters of their own doing until they came to this village where they encounter a real curse in a haunted forest with real magical beings, that’s when they had to step up to the plate and aid the townspeople. The other one is this Drew Barrymore movie, Ever After (1998). Having admired the new collection of tales from the Grimm brothers, the Dame of France summoned the siblings to probed about their story of the little cinder girl. Apparently the dame was dissatisfied of the story and when the brothers retort that there are too many versions of the tale to authenticate it, she reveal a glass shoe that had belonged to an ancestral blood line named Danielle de Barbarac and proceeds to narrate her true version of the story.
Jakob Ludwig Karl Grimm (also Karl) and Wilhelm Karl Grimm were born on 4 January 1785 and 24 February 1786 respectively, in Germany. They introduced us to Cinderella, a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression and triumphant reward that has been passed on from generations to generation. They are among the best-known story tellers of European folk tales, and their work popularized such stories as Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. Jacob and Wilhelm were really just focused on researching linguistics, and the famous Grimm tales are simply a by-product of the research. On December 20, 1812, they published the first volume of the first edition, containing 86 stories; the second volume of 70 stories followed in 1814. For the second edition, two volumes were issued in 1819 and a third in 1822, totalling 170 tales. The Grimm brothers are responsible for not only fairy tales, but several other works including writings on linguistics, folklore, and a detailed German dictionary.
This play features the following tales from their awesome book – The Musicians of Bremen, Ashputtel (Cinderella), The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage, The Golden Goose, The Hare and the Hedgehog, Hansel and Gretel, The Magic Table, The Gold-Donkey and the Cudgel in the Sack. The characters played by college students, watching it brought me back in high school when I had to participate in a drama-class as part of the curriculum. The props are modest but the actors maximized the use of it and the rest is up to the audience’s playful imagination. There are only a dozen of actors or less, they just switched role for every story. The presentation varies, like in The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage – shadow puppets were used for the performance. If you have ever made hand shadows (used your hands to make shadows that look like animals, etc.) on the wall or have seen shadows cast by a flashlight on a camping tent wall then you already have an idea of how shadow puppets work. The rest are played with storytellers (but no drama, they just sit there narrating casually as if telling events to their friends) and characters dialogue which I think this combination is a brilliant style for presenting, because back in high school we never thought of this style –it’s always pure dialog.The diction was clear and some of the actors are really into character and really stood-out for their part to think they have multiple roles. In Hansel and Gretel – as the 2 kids was left in the forest the narrator uttered … and they waited, and waited, and waited… the 2 actors didn’t stand there like a statue, every time the narrator uttered the word’ waited’ these kids pose in different position so as to give audience a feel of them waiting for a long time. I think my favorite was their performance in Ashputtel – the part when she left her slippers- everyone was moving in slow motion and to insinuate that she left her slippers the prince has to point it with a comedic face. The crowd was actually roaring in laughter in this scene. Seeing this play makes me want to see more of the local arts, It was all good stuff and worth my time c”,)…Awesome!