News Column

On stage: Princesses and acrobats come to Columbus

September 12, 2013


Sept. 12--A dragon, a gypsy and a hair dresser.

What more can you ask for in a family-friendly play?

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale," which opened Thursday, features those characters as well as the beautiful, long-haired damsel in distress and a handsome prince.

Kimbre Hughes, who plays Rapunzel, said the role is "a dream come true in a way." Hughes has always loved the fairy tale and really liked the Disney version, "Tangled."

Theater professor and director Brenda May Ito cautions parents that this is not based on "Tangled."

"The storyline is different from the movie," Hughes insists. But it is definitely family-fare and aimed at children in elementary grade levels.

Daniel Blanda is playing Rapunzel's savior, Sir Roderick, calling his character his own "adaptation."

He calls him "heroic but goofy."

If there is a villain, it's the haughty Lady Zaza, who wants to be the queen, but Rapunzel is in the way.

"I'm Rapunzel's evil aunt; her guardian," said Heather Pavik, who plays Lady Zaza. "Of course, I'm funny. It's children's theater. We're all funny."

The Dragon, Socrates, played by Quanesha Wilson, is the narrator.

The company of young student actors will be traveling all over Georgia this semester, working every Tuesday and Thursday. The rest of the week, they will attend their classes on main campus and downtown.

This is a new version of the fairy tale that is not even published.

Ito has a relationship with Melinda Long, the playwright, and says CSU is one of just 10 theaters that have produced the show. Ito has produced "How I Became a Pirate," which was also written by Long.

A circus sans animals

In the early years of Cirque Eloize, Jeannot Painchaud not only traveled with the company, he performed as an acrobat, cyclist and juggler.

Now as artistic director, he spends his days in his Montreal office.

"My main job is to work with creators and actors and acrobats and dancers and musicians," he said.

This is the 20th anniversary for Cirque Eloize, which will perform "Cirkopolis" in RiverCenter for the Performing Arts on Monday and Tuesday.

The company previously brought "Rain" to RiverCenter.

This show is completely different, Rainchaud said. It's about a man who enters a dream-like world.

"It's inspired from movies like 'Metropolis' and 'Brazil,'" Painchaud said. "There is a lot of humor. It's inspired from being lost in a strange world and the quest of being yourself."

He said it's on the cutting edge of circus, theater and dance.

Over the past 20 years, the company has produced 10 shows.

"Cirkopolis" cast members are mostly from England, America and Canada, with a few from Eastern Europe.

This cast is young, all between the ages of 20-25 except the main character, who is 36.


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