Alyssa Arre, Photo Editor

“Cinderella” is a show that has been done thousands of times in many different languages by thousands of theatre companies across the world. On Saturday, Oct. 12, Todd Theatre Company took on the challenge of the story. The version of Cinderella that premiered last weekend and continues this weekend is not what anyone would expect from the beloved fairy tale. If you’re looking for a cheery boy-meets-girl love story, don’t go see the show. Spoiler alert — it’s not a happy ending. If you’re looking to be hit over the head with metaphors, cheesy lines, and philosophical quotes for an hour and a half, this is the show for you.

The show opens with a simplistic, white box of a set with a reflective black floor. The lights go down and a mysterious voice captures the audience’s attention. The character titled “a female narrator who is heard but not seen,” recorded by Patricia Lewis, narrated transitions throughout the entire show in a wise, old woman’s voice. “A man who moves while she speaks,” played by junior Charles Lehner, was the mystically moving stagehand and prop for many of the scenes. Dressed in only translucent white pants, he added an almost magical presence to many of the scenes but also caused some awkward moments in other scenes, especially while the evil stepsisters were assaulting him. This scene in particular left the audience baffled and wondering, “How in the world does this relate to the plot?”

Cinderella, played by junior Zoe Netter, was not called Cinderella in this show until the end, when the playright, Joel Pommerat, randomly decides to throw it in. Her name for most of the show is Ashley or “the very young girl.” She is traumatized in the beginning of the show by the death of her mother and is being forced to live with with her evil stepmother, played by Kathryn Loveless.

Netter played Ashley in a very depressed and perpetually sad way. She did portray the characters strong commitment to her mother’s memory well, but this got old about an hour into the show.

Loveless was, by far, the strongest character in the entire show with her over-the-top portrayal of a woman trying to preserve her youth and never grow old. She spends most of the show in her lingerie and white silk bathrobe, strutting around in her nude colored heels.

The stepsisters were psychotic, to say the least. Played by sophomore Halle Burns and junior Leah Mould, the sisters were whining or screaming for most of the show. Their faces perpetually gave off the thought that they are about to have nervous breakdowns. They bore no resemblance to real human beings and, frankly, became annoying to listen to after the first 20 minutes.

The fairy godmother, played by Giulia Perucchio, was sassy and badass throughout her entire performance. She brought some comedy to an otherwise bleak show. Until Act 2, that is, when the role of comic relief was transferred over to the character of the king, played by David Libbey.

Ashley’s Prince Charming, played by sophomore Shane Saxton, was naive and charming in a nerdy sort of way. He looked like the kind of student you would run into on campus and not think twice about. His personality was that of a very sheltered 15 year old, and he was at a loss for the right words for his interactions with Ashley. Saxton nailed the awkward element of the character, and the audience seemed to honestly feel bad for him when Ashley broke the bad news to him: his mother had been dead since he was five years old and his father had yet to tell him.

The prince’s big solo moment, a debut singing performance at his own 15th birthday party, was cute for the first few minutes until the soap-opera-like back music kicked in and he dramatically, in slow motion, turned to see his first love, Ashley.

The slight chance that this moment could have been endearing was ruined by the music and the slow motion. It simply left many of the audience members rolling their eyes at the cheesiness of it all.

To be fair, most of the things that were not really enjoyable about this show had nothing to do with the cast, the costumes, or even the digital videos that appeared on the walls of the set. It is the excessive, mushy, and overall bizarre writing of the play itself that hurt the performance the most. This is the first time “Cinderella” has been translated into English and performed in the States and will be premiere in NYC in the spring. I can only wonder if it made more sense in French.

Sanguinetti is a member of the class of 2015.

 



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