MASON CITY - “Rumpelstiltskin,” Stebens Children’s Theatre’s next production, is filled with romance, sword fights, dancing and magic spells.
However, the Brothers Grimm story is “one of the darkest fairy tales there is,” said Tom Ballmer, Stebens executive director.
The miller brags that his daughter can spin straw into gold, and the greedy king tells her to “spin or die!” She is left alone with her impossible task when a “little man” appears.
“The plot turns on knowing his name,” Ballmer said.
“It certainly is a thoughtful play,” said Macke Rodamaker, who plays Lorelei, the miller’s daughter. “I love it.”
Rodamaker said the play is funny for children, and “all the little kids (in the play) are cute.”
Her character ages 10 years during the show.
“A woman growing up is an interesting thing,” Ballmer said. “From a clumsy, immature miller’s daughter to being queen — you get to see that transformation. You just watch her grow on stage.”
“She goes through every emotion in the book and has a rough time adapting to all the changes,” Rodamaker said. “She eventually grows into herself and figures what she needs to get done.”
Justin Corell-Johanns plays her prince.
“I try to make it the most generic prince charming I can get,” he said.
“The prince is a really passionate fellow — passionate about love. His father, the king, talks about gold, when all he’s looking for is love,” Corell-Johanns said.
He’s also involved in the fights.
“I beat up everybody twice.”
Rex Davenport is Rumpelstiltskin, whom he describes as “more or less the devil himself loosed from hell.”
“He’s just a very frightening, evil and demented little man. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.
“There’s a creepy little man in all of us,” Ballmer said.
“Rumpelstiltskin is evil, but he’s also very smart, very cunning,” Davenport said. “That being said, the princess manages to outsmart him constantly.”
Davenport, who describes himself as “fairly happy-go-lucky,” said he is used to being the silly one, citing his recent role as Captain Hook in Stebens’ “Peter Pan.”
“I’m also not used to a lot of the physicality of this role,” he said.
Rumpelstiltskin “spends much of the time hunched over, he’s so far gone from being a human,” Davenport said. “There’s an unnatural lifeness to him. The dichotomy is very interesting to play.”
He can be hunched over one moment, then jump halfway across the stage the next.
“He shows he’s not someone to be trifled with,” Davenport said.
“The big fairly tales are about girls growing up,” Ballmer said. “A villain as the title character is unusual.”
“All in all, it should be a good time,” Davenport said. “It will probably be my last show here. It’s a good one to end on.”
DATES AND TICKETS
“Rumpelstiltskin” will be presented at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, and Thursday, April 14; 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 16; and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 17.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for youth 18 and under, available at the theater, 616 N. Delaware Ave., weekdays from 1 to 5 p.m. or call 641-424-9802 with MasterCard or Visa.
Axel, Clay Suskalo; Hewett, Elijah Warfield; Cort, Sawyer Goetz; Matilda, Anne Tesar; Gretchen, Callie Ginapp; Gilda, Katie Schickel; Ulric, Mike Byrnes; king’s handmaid, Kaitlin Bergan; Wilek, Justin Corell-Johanns; Giselle, Sophie Ballmer; first guard Nic Murray; second guard, Noah Johnson; Lorelei, Macke Rodamaker; Rumpelstiltskin, Rex Davenport; Minna, Kerry Werch; Alaric, Quentin Seger; Romilda, Keira Marken; children — Nick Fallis, Emily Follmuth, Amelia Ouverson, Brena Hamilton, Paige Leininger, Eden Lewerke, Natasha Orton, Kallie Whitehill, Spencer Woodward; nurse, Alexandra Dunlay; Grisvold, Dan Mark.
David Birkedal is fight coordinator and Sophie Ballmer is dance choreographer. Assistant stage manager is Ethan Curry; assistant to the director, Emily Goetz; lights, Lydia Ouverson; prop master/spot, Elizabeth Ouverson; sound, Ben Hoekstra; and stage manager, Elaena Hoekstra.
Stebens Children’s Theatre’s 2010-2011 season sponsors are First Citizens National Bank, Hy-Vee Food and Hy-Vee Drug, Children’s Dental Center of Mason City and Todd and Renee Hoeppner, Alpha Orthodontics, Kingland Systems, Clausen Plumbing and Heating, and the Plumb Center.