My expectations for this program were quite high, but the week of June 1st blew them out of the water.

The Children’s Theatre Exchange is a unique event that allows two theatre companies from different cities to come together and share their experiences, techniques, workshops and performances over a one week period. Members of both groups profit immensely from this experience and I would definitely recommend this to theatre enthusiasts.

The Flying Ship was the production brought to the stage by SOLO, the theatre from Atlanta, Georgia. With captivating energy, bright costumes, and catchy music, this astounding performance is definitely an 11/10.

This story is about a princess whose father owes debts to the Tsar of a neighbouring kingdom, and decides to marry off his daughter, the princess, as he dosen’t have the money. Princess Zabava has no interest in marrying (unless the suitor has built a flying ship as a token of his love), and tries her best to harass the Polkan into leaving her father’s kingdom- but the Polkan is persistent…

Yes, Zabava doesn’t want to marry, that is, until Ivan the chimney sweep makes an appearance. This happy go lucky, clumsy character is happy to do whatever it takes to win Zabava’s heart (including attempting to build that flying ship she dreams of). As the story unfolds, Ivan meets an assortment of incredibly bizarre, quirky characters such as the “the swamp man” (vodinoy) and several hags. The story ends with a strong message: sometimes the things you are looking for are right under your nose because, at the end of this play, the actors use all of the set and the props used to build the magic ship.

The costumes and props are vibrant and creative, as well as enthralling. None of the costumes look the same, yet none of them clash either. The lighting is not the most important aspect, yet it helps bring the whole play together.

This play has an unmatched energy that will captivate audiences of all ages.

Up to Low:

With an alleyway stage, dim lighting, and a perfect cast, this play couldn’t have been any better.

The atmosphere pulls you in from the very beginning; with the actors already singing on stage (as there are no curtains), and a live band in the right corner. It’s quite rare to find a play where actors are 101 percent their characters, but this was definitely one of them.

Most actors play at least two characters: one major role, and one from the chorus. I liked how each character that the actors played contrasted (ex. quiet vs loud characters played by the same actor). This was definitely a play for slightly older audiences (12 and up), as younger children may not be able to grasp some of the deeper concepts in this story.
In conclusion, it’s very difficult to pick my favorite moment from this whole experience because it was extraordinary. All I can say is, the hardest moment was the goodbye, and I think that alone symbolizes something.


Natalie Vilkoff

Once Upon a Kingdom Theatre

Edited by Brianna McFarlane

 

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