Slaps and naps, appetizing porridge and a poisoned apple, dwarfs and bears and aliens fill ImaginOn this weekend in Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s first WonderFest.
CTC’s touring company sets up at Wells Fargo Playhouse Jan. 14-29 to do three shows in repertory: “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and “Commedia Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (both world premieres) plus “The New Kid,” a poignantly funny story about a stranger – an American stranger – in a strange land.
Meanwhile, WonderFest will offer readings of finalists in the annual Young Playwrights for Change contest, theater workshops and more.
The two premieres put unfamiliar spins on familiar narratives. In Mark Sutton’s version, Goldilocks isn’t the usual mischief-making anti-heroine; she’s “alone in the world and a little wild, deeply curious and terribly uninhibited.” Baby Bear is her opposite, sheltered by well-meaning parents.
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Likewise, circus arts expert CarlosAlexis Cruz has redesigned “Snow White” to fit the commedia dell’arte form: slapstick comedy, masks, exaggerated behavior and audience interaction.
CTC veterans may know Dennis Foon’s “New Kid,” which puts a twist on the immigration theme. Young Nick is moving to America from Homeland with his parents. The Homelanders speak their own language to us and to each other, but the words are in English. The Americans speak something they call English, but it's a semi-comprehensible, polyglot chatter. So we're immediately on Nick's side, because we also feel like aliens in this new terrain.