News Column

Old tale gets new spin New York-based theater group involves local child actors

August 21, 2014

By Bryan Mcintyre, The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.



Aug. 21--New York-based REV Theatre Company is putting a contemporary spin on a classic fairy tale with its production of "Handsome and Petal" -- a comical remake of "Hansel and Gretel."

The free show, another collaboration with United Neighborhood Centers, is set for Friday at 6 p.m. at West Side Senior Center in West Scranton. It tells the story of siblings Handsome and Petal who, trying to resolve their family's financial issues, seek the evil Antihistamine's House of Sweet with hopes of finding food for their mother, sister and themselves. Also, as opposed to the forest in the original story, the siblings wander through an urban park.

REV co-artistic director Rudy Caporaso, who also plays the witch, said the show is "our own wacky, zany, madcap, outrageous, fun-filled take of the Grimm Brothers' fairy tale, 'Hansel and Gretel.'"

Rosemary Hay, Mr. Caraposa's fellow director, said, "It's about a family who struggles ... and tries to better themselves."

"It's a very important message, the importance of family, what people do when they love each other," she said.

Ms. Hay, professor of acting at Temple University and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and Mr. Caporaso, an American Academy of Dramatic Arts graduate, formed the REV Theatre Company in 2000 to perform in communities on the East Coast.

"Arts can bring new life blood to the community," Mr. Caporaso said.

Having deep roots in Scranton, Mr. Caporaso found opportunities for the company to put on productions locally. The pair helped form the Scranton Shakespeare Festival and recently took positions as instructors with the Scranton Cultural Center's new Creative and Performing Arts Academy.

Turning their attention away from professional performances, the duo decided to try to raise children's involvement in the dramatic arts. They sought community organizations with youth members to let them produce a show. Mike Hanley, United Neighborhood Centers executive director, answered the call.

REV will direct two shows a year for UNC during the summer and winter. The actors range in age from 7 to 17 and have varying experience levels.

They believe the arts, especially youth involvement in the arts, can help revitalize this or any other region.

"Theater is the place you can bring together a community and they can all participate in this live event which is about reaching out. ... The crucial thing is a community sharing an experience," Ms. Hay said. "They need this, they need the arts to help them grow in the world. It's about self-confidence and self-esteem."

"It's about imagination and creativity in addition to teaching life-building skills," Mr. Caporaso added.

Connor Griggs, 8, of Scranton plays Handsome and said about the show, "It's going to be crazy and fun and silly."

"It's a play meant for all ages," added 10-year-old Isabella DeFlice who plays Petal.

The show also promises audience involvement at the end when children will have the chance to destroy and devour Antihistamine's House of Sweet.

Contact the writer: bmcintyre@timesshamrock.com

If you go

What: "Handsome and Petal," presented by REV Theatre Company

Where: West Side Senior Center, first floor, 1004 Jackson St.

When: Friday, 6 p.m.

Details: Free admission

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(c)2014 The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.)

Visit The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.) at thetimes-tribune.com

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Source: Times-Tribune (Scranton, PA)


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