As a mixture of multiple fairy tales brought together, “Into The Woods” creates a new story that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Characters including Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella and her stepfamily, Little Red Ridinghood, her grandma and the wolf she encounters in the woods, Rapunzel, two giants and a witch are the characters that set the plot.
The play opened in the Randall L. Jones Theatre with a full house. Utah Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Brian Vaughn and his wife, Melinda Pfundstein, play lead characters, the baker and the baker’s wife, who have a curse put on their house by the witch because they stole things from her garden. She assigns items to the couple to find in three days to lift the curse, which hinders their chance of bearing children. A cow as white as milk, a scarf as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn and a slipper as bright as gold are the items they must acquire.
All characters go “into the woods” to search on their own journeys. Cinderella’s wish is to go to the Prince’s festival, Rapunzel seeks to leave the tower, Little Red Ridinghood takes goodies to her grandmother’s house, Jack seeks to sell his cow and the baker goes out to break the spell. All characters encounter each other on their separate journeys and fulfill the things they separately wish for, only to discover a happily ever after is not really a happily ever after.
The twist comes after the beanstalk is chopped down and the giant falls to his death. One character throws out another magic bean, adding another giant to the story. The dead giant’s wife seeks Jack’s death for killing her husband. The characters work together to find a better happiness than first anticipated.
In the process, Cinderella and Rapunzel’s princes leave and find love with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. The fairy tale twist brings the stories closer to reality.
Everyone goes “into the woods to face the journey.” That journey may not be to grandmother’s house, or to the festival, or to sell the cow, but it is a journey to find the way to each person’s needs and desires.
For more information about the Utah Shakespeare Festival, this season, or tickets, visit www.bard.org.