By Frank Stanko
The brothers may be Grimm, but audiences are sure to be merry while seeing “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” the North Dakota State College of Science’s spring play.
Directed by Melissa Frank, “The Elves and the Shoemaker” will be performed for one week only, starting Tuesday, April 5 at NDSCS’ Bremer Bank Theatre.
Shoemaker Eric (Nick Bauer), his wife Fiona (Hope Krumm) and daughter Shannon (Jessica Walton) live in Grimmville, not far from an enchanted forest, the home of elves Herbie (Tory Safranski) and Zuzu (Mel Kompelien). After encountering a peddler (Lanae Ekberg), Shannon ends up with a charm that she isn’t aware controls Herbie and Zuzu. The elves would just like to have a night where they aren’t making shoes.
“We get a lot of room to be goofballs and just goof around,” said Bauer, a second-year student, about rehearsals for “Elves.” “I did seven plays in high school and this would be my eighth. I figure I’d do one more because I’m about to graduate. It was fun.”
So fun, in fact, that Safranski and Kompelien, both second-year students, can’t talk about rehearsals without bursting into laughter.
“Oh, there are a few (favorite moments),” Safranski said. “Backstage is always great, it’s always a hoot. What was it that made me fall on the floor laughing?”
“A lot. You fell a lot,” Kompelien said. “You’re going to have to narrow it down a little.”
“There was many a time where I was literally on the floor, almost in tears, I’m laughing so hard,” Safranski continued.
First-year Miranda Glenn, who plays such characters as the little old woman who lived in a shoe, revealed that all of her lines for the character are improvised. In the script, the old woman is only directed to bring up children from the audience.
“That doesn’t give you much to work with,” she said. “(Improvising) is actually kind of my specialty. I don’t have a lot of memorized lines, so everything that I do is going to have to be off the cuff. … It’s an honor that (Frank) trusts me that much, especially with so many children in the audience. It’s going to be a different audience to play with, because when we have our morning shows, with the children in the crowd, the sillier and more slapstick I can be, the better. And then when we have our evening, our college performance, I can slide things to just over their heads. It’s definitely a challenge and it’s something I’m taking very seriously, but it’s fun.”
Second-year Ekberg, who said she loves playing a villain, also enjoys getting the opportunity to get some extra mileage out her prom dress, part of the costume she wears during a brief appearance as Cinderella.
“That’s the one thing in this play, don’t forget to have fun,” she added.
Cinderella is just one of the fair maidens courted by first-year Dan Paluck’s unlucky-in-love prince.
“This play feels like something that I fit into pretty perfectly,” he said understatedly as fellow cast-members laughed. “It’s something that I just slip into and be myself, pretty much.”
With so much of the cast having acted together in last fall’s “Nancy Drew and Her Biggest Case Ever,” which was also directed by Frank, many agree there was a feeling of familiarity and collaboration throughout rehearsals.
“I’m new to (acting) myself and it’s been a lot of fun,” said Walton, a first year student.
Performances of “The Elves and the Shoemaker” are at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 5 and Wednesday, April 6, with special daytime performances throughout the week for local schools. It will run between approximately 60-75 minutes. The Bremer Bank Theatre is in NDSCS’ Stern Cultural Center. Admission is free, with donations and non-perishable food pantry items appreciated.
Department: Performing Arts
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