Umpqua Community College theater department will bring 209 classic fairy tales to life with “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon.”

The show will be directed by first time director Christopher Lyon, who said the play will run “the full cacophony of fairy tales” we know and love.

“I love fairy tales, especially the classic Grimm tales, and as I was looking for virtual productions, I saw this and ... I fell in love,” Lyon said. “I never laughed so hard looking at a script before, and knew right then I wanted to do this.”

Lyon has been both a behind-the-scenes tech guy as well as acted in numerous productions, but he felt it was time to tackle the dream of his first production.

Director of Theatre Christina Allaback says offering shows directed by students or community directors is part of her vision for the department.

“Because of the popularity and affordability of virtual shows, I thought this term would be perfect to have community director since we are doing a live show, as well,” Allaback said. “Chris has a great deal of theatre experience, both as a tech and an actor. I thought he would be a great choice for a community director and I know this is something he wants to do more of in the future.”

Eleven actors will put their acting skills to the test, Lyon says, bringing the true stories of Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and many more to life.

This will be Rose Taylor’s second show with UCC. She will be portraying The Dirt Merchant, Girl with No Hands, Plinkie Plie (a magical horse) and Little Red. She says she doesn’t really relate to any of her characters, which she loves. It gives her the opportunity to feel like a new person for two hours.

“I have been in theater all my life in different ways, but my wheelchair always made me doubt my ability to be in shows, it’s not something someone said but it was always on my mind,” Taylor said. “Zoom plays have taken it out of the picture. Ever since I saw this show on stage I KNEW I had to audition, I love it so much.”

Ariel Hicks hails from sunny California and is able to participate in the production because it is held virtually. Hicks will play one of the two narrators, who happens to get a little carried away in some of the scenes. This will be different from the last production with UCC that she participated in because “the silliness and seriousness that happens side by side really exposing the absurdity of humans.”

“Totally different character and feel. Warcraft was all about romance and that struggle, where Grimm is all about chugging through a show that is going haywire,” Hicks said. “Things are happening, character statuses are changing and fairy tale lore comes into question. Will the narrators make it through?”

Karlissa Jones, a teacher from Coos Bay that is also able to join the show because of its virtual nature, says the most difficult part is “timing everything right on Zoom.” She tackles the roles of three different villains, the enchantress who locks Rapunzel in the tower, the wicked witch and the evil queen.

“It is also challenging differentiating between the three villainous women,” Jones said. “I love the script, the goofiness, the cast and how committed everyone is to their roles.”

“The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon” will stream at 7 p.m. April 9, 10, 16 and 17 at www.showtix4u.com/event-details/48735. Tickets are $5 for individuals and $15 for a group.

Jones, who brings both acting and directing skills to the set, says she is impressed with the work that Lyon has done.

“I am huge impressed with Chris as a director. His scheduling and plans are organized so we get a lot of work done during rehearsals. He is exceptional at communicating his vision and bring this craziness to life,” Jones said.

For Lyon, he just hopes his vision will inspire the audience to “learns new things about fairy tales, laughed till their sides hurt and thoroughly enjoys themselves.”

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review. She can be reached at ewelch@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4218.

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Community Reporter

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review, mother of two and a native of Roseburg. She is an alumni of RHS, UCC and Western Oregon University. Contact her at ewelch@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4218.

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