I’ve always had a love for theatre. It’s a community where people of all walks of life come together to play all walks of life. Theatre offers lessons of humility by offering the chance to see through the eyes of another, and to understand them by watching their struggles and successes. Theatre is a window to another world, and this past week the EKU School of Music opened that window to a fantastical fairytale land in their production of “Once Upon a Mattress.”
“Once Upon a Mattress” is a spin on the classic fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.” But unlike most classic fairytales which center around a delicate princess, “Once Upon a Mattress” offers a different kind of heroine. Princess Winnifred (or Fred), played by the stunning Tori Sizemore, is fun-loving, humorous and extremely unconventional. Winnifred’s bold personality is a breath of fresh air to a typical princess story which makes her an extremely enjoyable character to watch.
“Once Upon a Mattress” does a wonderful job breaking down stereotypes of fairytale characters, princesses and princes alike. Prince Dauntless, played by the wonderfully talented Braden Hatton, is a far cry from most fairytale princes who often appear more as knights in shining armor. Rather, Dauntless is a gentle soul living cautiously under his controlling mother’s wing (Queen Aggravain played marvelously by Cassidy Jones). Dauntless’ storyline focuses on the need to grow up in order to take control of your life from those who have claimed it as their own.
When you are part of any show you always worry if the performance will be enough, but the cast of “Once Upon a Mattress” can put this worry to rest. Myself and many others who I spoke to after the performance, were absolutely blown away with the immense amount of talent practically spilling over the edge of the stage. The entire cast was bursting with energy and life, not slowing down once the entire production, and leaving it all out on the stage.
It would be a tremendous mistake to not mention the hard work of those behind the scenes as well. The orchestra for the show provided enchanting and masterful accompaniment to the show’s charming soundtrack. Not to leave out that both the costume designers and set designers are owed a tremendous amount of applause. I have to say, as someone who has seen the show before, the set was not what I was expecting. But it was incredible, appearing as cutouts from a fairytale coloring book. It was amazingly creative and original and a joy to look at.
When I transferred to EKU two years ago, the wounds of the theater program being cut were still fresh. As an incoming student, I was extremely disappointed that one of my greatest joys was no longer available to me. However, seeing the EKU School of Music’s performance of “Once Upon a Mattress” restored my hope for theater at EKU. To see these talented individuals investing so much time and hard-work into this production is a lesson in perseverance. I want to thank each and every person who contributed to this production and helped to prove that theatre at EKU is not only alive and well, but thriving.