'Into the Woods' has messages for all ages

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Nov. 25, 2011
Kelvin Oppong (as The Wolf) and Olivia Thompson (as Little Red Ridinghood) rehearse a scene from Creative Experiences' 'Into the Woods, Jr.', which will be performed Dec. 1-3. Photos by Steve Smith.
Kelvin Oppong (as The Wolf) and Olivia Thompson (as Little Red Ridinghood) rehearse a scene from Creative Experiences' 'Into the Woods, Jr.', which will be performed Dec. 1-3. Photos by Steve Smith.

Children in the audience at the Creative Experiences production of “Into the Woods, Jr.” will undoubtedly appreciate the intertwining of several fairy tales, including “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Cinderella” and “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

Adults will appreciate the more farcical twists, as well as the metaphorical aspects of the characters and their interactions. Jack has a borderline-unhealthy attachment to the cow he is charged with selling, and the relationship between the Wolf and Little Red is beyond that of predator and prey.

“The Wolf represents men in general and how they want something,” said actor Kelvin Oppong. “He wants something to eat, and the girl [Ridinghood] represents food, but she also represents women.”

Oppong said that each of the characters have multiple levels and that they represent more than just their character. “But they all come together in the end,” he said.

“It really teaches lessons,” said Olivia Thompson, 12, who has been in several Creative Experiences' productions, but is playing a feature role – that of Little Red Ridinghood – for the first time.

“Each character has a different story,” Thompson said. “You really find that each character's simple story weaves in with everybody else's.”

Peter Fan plays Cinderella's Prince (one of many princes in the show). “He goes into the woods to find Cinderella, because he fell in love with her at the ball,” Fan said. “It's pretty much a wild goose chase for him, but in the end, he finds the shoe, goes house-to-house, and finds Cinderella.”

The song “Agony,” which Fan sings with Eric Parkhurst, who plays Rapunzel's Prince, is one of the highlights of the show. “It's about how I am in so much more agony,” Fan said. “We're competing, because we're brothers, and comparing how painful our struggles are.”

“The Princes' song, ‘Agony,’ is my favorite to watch from backstage,” Thompson said.

The show also has a message for adults and kids about how their actions speak louder than words.

“It tells the story of how children will listen to whatever you say, and they watch everything you do, so you have to be careful how you set an example,” Oppong said.

“There's a lot of humor – light and dark – and it's really deep,” Oppong said.

“People will really like how the stories interact with each other,” Fan said. “Things happen in one story because of things in other stories. I think the audience will enjoy going through that journey.”

“Into the Woods, Jr.” runs Dec. 1, 2, and 3 at 7 p.m. at the Gideon Welles School auditorium. For more information, call 860-652-7675.


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