WEYAUWEGA, Wis. (WFRV) – Weyauwega-Fremont High School students dove into the world of classic fairytales with their production of Once Upon a Mattress.
The musical is a comedic take on the classic story The Princess and the Pea. Medieval Prince Dauntless hopes to find a princess to wed. None of the eligible women live up to his mother’s high standards, but one day the aloof Princess Winnifred arrives seeking his hand in marriage. Hoping to stop the marriage, the queen puts her to the test; if she can feel a pea under twenty mattresses in her sleep, she can marry the prince.
Local Five caught up with some of the cast and crew before the production’s final performance on Sunday.
“One thing about the show is that it’s really funny. I love being such a funny character in the show who’s got such a sense of humor. It’s so much different from the other characters in the show,” said Renee Buhrow, a freshman who played the role of Princess Winnifred. “I love bringing stories to life… I grew up with fairytales, so bringing a comedic fairytale, like putting comedy into fairytales is really neat.”
Other cast members detailed the challenges of getting into character for the show.
“The most challenging part for me was definitely looking at my character and being like, what would he do? Because there’s a lot of things that I do that my character probably wouldn’t, so it was kind of challenging to try and fix my small mannerisms to make the character actually work,” explained Everett Magnuson, who played Prince Dauntless.
“A personal challenge I’ve had was memorizing my lines because my character has a bunch of monologues… I’m someone who wants it perfect, so that’s been fun,” added Natasha Timm, who played the role of Queen Aggravain.
But watching the students find their voice through these characters was the best part of the rehearsal process for director Molly Suehs.
“I love to watch the kids as they develop through their character,” Suehs said. “It’s so much fun and that’s the biggest excitement that I get as a director. I get to watch them grow as an actor or actress and especially as a musician, and see where they take their character.”
Timm and Magnuson went on to say that the advice of “What would your character do?” was their biggest takeaway from last year’s feedback from the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s (PAC) Center Stage program. The program allows local high school theater departments to get their shows critiqued leading up to the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Showcase in May.
“The critiques that they give are so cool,” Timm told Local Five. “Last year we did School of Rock and they critiqued one of the songs that we were in, and just seeing what we could have done better and what they liked, that was really cool.”
Participating in workshops with theater professionals and meeting other local talent are other benefits the Weyauwega-Fremont theater program has seen from Center Stage.
“The Center Stage program has really been integral to why we are a part of this whole musical theater thing. They provide so many wonderful opportunities to the students and for the directors that we might not be able to have access to otherwise and we’re just so fortunate to be a part of the program,” said Suehs. “One of the things that I look forward to the most is seeing everybody else’s show and seeing all of the talent that’s across Northeast Wisconsin.”
“It’s really cool to see a bunch of these other schools doing musical theater, a bunch of other musical kids having the same passions. It’s really neat,” Buhrow added about the program.
In addition to the show, the Weyauwega-Fremont theater department also hosted a chili dinner before Saturday’s performance to raise money for music and drama scholarships.
The performances of Once Upon a Mattress were on November 4-5 at 7 p.m. and November 6 at 2 p.m.