April 17, 2014

Grimm reaping

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Local youth makes hay with modern fairy tale

Cast and crew members of ‘A Very Grimm Fairytale’ pose for a group photo during a recent dress rehearsal. Led by writer and director Madeleine Barrett (front row, center), the group of local youths will stage two performances of the play on June 29 at Williston Central School. (Photo courtesy of Madeleine Barrett)

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

School’s out for the summer, but Madeleine Barrett and her company of dedicated students of the stage will be at Williston Central School’s Al Myers Theater on June 29 to present a Barrett original production.

“A Very Grimm Fairytale,” written and directed by Barrett, a recent WCS graduate, concerns a comic legal battle between fairy tale writers the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, who sues the brothers for the rights to their stories. In order to retain custody of such characters as Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Clever Gretel—who have turned into common criminals out of boredom with the “happily ever after” concept—the Brothers Grimm must convince the judge that the characters can be reformed.

Barrett previously collaborated with Sam Messer, a literacy teacher in WCS’ Voyager House, on the screwball comedy “Clowns and Crooks.” She said the experience gave her writing renewed purpose.

“I’ve always loved writing and I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but this year with the play, when I did ‘Clowns and Crooks,’ I really was interested in (theater),” Barrett said. “From my experience with the Voyager play, I just felt like this was something that I really want to do with my life.”

Barrett is now flying solo, with Messer and several parents providing required adult supervision at rehearsals.

“Maddy has taken on a new adventure in writing her own full length play,” Messer wrote in an email to the Observer. “Now, she is truly in the driver’s seat, handling everything from casting to publicity. Without a doubt, she is certainly becoming one of our area’s best up and coming writers.”

Joining Barrett in the production are 16 local youths, including Assistant Director Mishka Rehak, who plans to incorporate her experience with the play into her WCS eighth grade challenge next year.

“It’s something that people are giving up time in their summer to do, so it was really hard getting people, but the people that we have are really dedicated to it and passionate about it,” Barrett said.

Barrett, who plans to try her hand at acting by auditioning for the role of Rizzo in the fall production of “Grease” at Champlain Valley Union High School, said she hopes other Williston Wildcats will follow her lead.

“I hope that this will be an inspiration for people who maybe don’t know where to go if they want to write or they want to act,” Barrett said, “and by doing this as a younger adult, it might inspire them to go out and just go for it.”

“A Very Grimm Fairytale” will be performed June 29 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Williston Central School’s Al Myers Theater. Tickets are $5. For more information, contact Madeleine Barrett at 871-5153 or [email protected]

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