South’s winter play provides fresh spin on Goldilocks and the Three Bears plot

Eliz Akgun, staff reporter

For most, the title Goldilocks and the Three Bears brings to mind dusty memories of a childhood full of fantasy and magical prospects. However, this year’s audience of South’s winter play, Goldilocks, is in for quite a surprise. A spin on the classic fairytale, the play has many unexpected twists, according to director John Knight.

What makes this play notably distinct is the inclusion of childhood favorites like Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, the Three Little Pigs, the Big Bad Wolf, and Jack Sprat; in fact, in place of Little Bear, there will be a deer acting as a species exchange student, according to Knight. However, above all, Knight explains that his favorite aspect of the play is the unexpected casting of inanimate objects.

“All of the pieces of furniture that Goldilocks sits on are played by people, so when she says, ‘Oh this chair is too hard,’ it’s two actors who are [performing a] hard, kind of like tough, gangster, chair,” Knight said. “And then when it’s the soft chair, [there are] two actors being very soft and flowy, like ballerina chairs.”

Goldilocks is geared towards a younger audience, specifically kindergarten through third graders, Knight said. With a grand total of 1,000 children from the nearby schools of Henking, Willowbrook and Winkelman in attendance, the actors will be performing four shows in the Lyceum during school hours on Dec. 15 and 16, Knight said. There are also shows open to the public on the evening of Dec. 16 and afternoon of Dec. 17, Knight said, noting that there is a certain level of wit embedded in the script, thus catering to adult viewers as well.

“A good children’s theatre should appeal to children, but it should also have something for adults,” Knight said. “This play has a lot of funny jokes that kids won’t necessarily get, but adults will find amusing.”

Ingrained throughout the storyline and dialogue are life lessons ranging from the importance of truth and responsibility to the consequences of lying, Knight said, which he stresses will benefit the kids greatly. The variety in this season’s group of performers is also a beneficial factor, according to Knight.

“I’m very excited,” Knight said. “This year’s group is a great mixture of several experienced veteran actors and a lot more of our new younger actors, so it’s a great mix of old and new, experienced and fresh, and that’s my favorite type to work with.”

Among the younger students who will be performing is freshman Lily Small. Small, who has been taking theatre classes since the second grade, will play Goldilocks. Small explains that she is incredibly eager and slightly nervous for her performance, though she adores the theatre atmosphere and is ready to immerse herself in the artistic community at South.

“I like being able to take a part and make it [my] own,” Small said. “I really like seeing all my friends… I’m really excited to meet new people in the drama department.”

Junior Marina Madsen, who performed in this year’s fall play, will be playing Mama Bear. Madsen explains that a key part of acting is making your partner look good. With this is mind, she feels the most rewarding part about theatre is creating relationships will fellow performers, according to Madsen.

“For theatre, it’s a lot about being accepting towards each other,” Madsen said. “When you’re acting, you’re putting yourself out there, so it gives room to support each other. You get to make really great friendships.”

In teaching performance arts, Knight aims to train the next generation of audience and performers, helping kids to unleash their creativity and appreciate theatre and culture for a lifetime.

“Especially for this play, it’s particularly rewarding because we are doing it for kids,” Knight said. “When you perform a play for kids that are five through eight, they let you know immediately if they love it, if they hate it, if they’re bored. You get instant feedback… there’s no pretending.”