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Il Etait Une Fois
a Drama
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Carolyn Cook

COMPANY : Théâtre du Ręve [WEBSITE]
VENUE : 7 Stages [WEBSITE]
ID# 5249

SHOWING : March 06, 2018 - March 25, 2018

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Once upon a time, there were women who found a way to defy even the most powerful ruler on earth, simply by telling their own stories. Prepare to be transported to the France of Louis XIV, where women used the wonder of fairy tales to show that sometimes, the damsel in distress can rescue herself.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Carolyn Cook
Madame de St.-Aignan Natalie Karp
Madame D’Aulnoy Eliana Marianes
Elisabeth Bernard Jennifer Schottstaedt
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REVIEWS

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Thrice Upon a Time
by playgoer
Sunday, March 25, 2018
4.0
"Il Etait Une Fois," while depicting historical French female writers from the time of King Louis XIV, primarily splices together versions of three well-known fairytales ("Hansel and Gretel," "Jack and the Beanstalk," and "Cinderella") tinged with a proto-feminist viewpoint. It’s all done with great theatricality, using the three cast members to impersonate all the characters in the tales. The joy of the telling permeates the piece, with a bit of poignancy at the end, as Madame de St.-Aignan (Natalie Karp) heads off to exile due to the king’s displeasure, leaving an old friend (Eliana Marianes as Madame D’Aulnoy) and a new one (Jennifer Schottstaedt as Elisabeth Bernard) to carry on her literary salon.

While Barrett Doyle’s scenic design and/or Bennett Walton’s set construction has a bit of a slapdash quality about it, with a lot of crudely draped fabric panels over architectural elements featuring modern hardware, Jennifer Schottstaedt’s costume design is colorful and delightful and is complemented by Josh Marsh’s excellent craft design. Alex Riviere’s lighting design illuminates the action nicely without a lot of superfluous effects, and Ed Thrower’s sound design does all it needs to do to enhance the production.

The performances are what really sell the show. Ms. Karp combines sharp humor and a bit of gravitas to characterize a woman whose life of spinning semi-subversive tales in the court of the king will soon be coming to an end. Ms. Schottstaedt captures the spirit of a shy woman, faced with the choice of an arranged marriage or the convent, whose imagination blooms as the women devise a fairytale. Eliana Marianes adds a flavor of silliness and unbridled joy that sparks the proceedings.

Carolyn Cook has adapted an actual French fairytale by Countess Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy, "Finette Cendron," with the collaboration of her actresses and has staged it to create an engaging piece of theatre for francophones of all ages. Strike that. Since English supertitles are displayed throughout, for general American audiences of all ages. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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