Spotlight Players Stage Secret in the Wings

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Spotlight Players Stage Secret in the Wings

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On Friday November 16, and Saturday November 17 (with their scheduled Thursday performance being cancelled by a freak November snowstorm) Verona High School’s Spotlight Players presented the mystical fall drama The Secret in the Wings by Mary Zimmerman

The play tells a magical yet chilling tale and featured  VHS’s very own Abby Bermeo and Alex Kosulin in the lead roles as well as a wonderful ensemble of performers

Speaking to the unorthodox nature of the play, faculty director Steven Munoz, said “Contemporary theater is a challenge. It has a tendency to upend what the cast, crew, and audience think about theater, replacing standard structures of plot, design, and dialogue with exciting, sometimes bizarre, novelties.  These strange texts force new perspectives, strange situations, and usually a lot head-scratching.

            With The Secret in the Wings, Mary Zimmerman, a prominent playwright, director, and scholar of contemporary theater,  attempts to adapt and revive seven fairy-tales through the dream-like lens of a bedtime story. She twists, divides, blends, and re-purposes elements of each story, just as a bedtime story repurposes itself as a dream after drifting off to sleep.  She chooses to nest the stories within each other, pausing stories 1-6 halfway through, telling the complete story of #7, then finishing the first six stories in descending order. Many of her choices throughout the play aim to keep the child-like mystery of the stories intact, recreating how the stories might appear through the filter of a child’s imagination. After all, the world of kings, princesses, courts, sea captains, and ogres is a realm we only get to visit through make-believe and pretend.

           “I chose this as our fall production to challenge our students and introduce them to an important twenty first century author,” said Mr. Munoz. Though many musicals retain the same basic plot structure, instead innovating through changes in musical style, choreography, and production, the world of drama is an ever-changing structural landscape, pushing the boundaries of what plays are capable of and offering audiences an experience that can’t be delivered through any other medium. Musicals and spectacle will always have an audience, but plays are constantly threatened by the countless other ways to ingest a simple story. It is important to understand how contemporary theater reclaims theatrical space and tries to create a product that only the stage can handle.

         Mary Zimmerman is the recipient of a 1998 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2002 Tony Award for Best Director of a Play (Metamorphoses, of which she is also the playwright), and numerous Jeff Awards (including Best Production and Best Direction). She is an Artistic Associate of Goodman Theatre, a member of Lookingglass Theatre Company and a Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Her interests lie in the adaptation of literary texts for performance, directing, and devising theatre.

Most stories featured in the play are faithful retellings of folk tales from medieval Europe. Some might be familiar, like the story of a beast taking notice of a stolen rose, some have elements that might be familiar, like magical leaves, royal balls, and evil mothers, and some are incredibly and undeniably obscure.

All these riveting tales were offered up to an enchanted audience of VHS theatergoers  who seemed to enjoy the magical realms within The Secret in the Wings by Mary Zimmerman.


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