Show By High School Student Shown For First Time Opens Friday At Players Ring
A woman, well actually a high school girl, from somewhere west of the Mississippi wrote a humorous play with a feisty female princess that will be presented - perhaps for the first time ever - this weekend at the Players' Ring in Portsmouth.
"A Backwards Fairytale", written by Allie Lehnhoff and published in 2010, is a light-hearted play that defies expectations and just the kind of show co-directors Brandon Lavin of Somersworth and Stacey Lynn Brown of Newington wanted to produce.
"It has a sense of humor and heart so that no matter what your age, you are going to enjoy it," Lavin said.
Lavin and Brown, who are both involved in Veterans in Performing Arts, wanted to put on a show that was lighter and more friendly than what that organization generally offers.
"They put on great shows, dramas or dark comedies., and wanted something family friendly and all ages," Lavin said. "But in 'A Backwards Fairytale,' we don't need to go blue; our show doesn't need to have swears and doesn't have to be dark just for the sake of being dark comedy."
Lavin found "A Backward Fairytale," while surfing on line for scripts through Samuel French.
In this play, a narrator, played by Katie Makem-Boucher of Dover, begins to tell the tale only to find out that the princess has another idea of how the story will go. Thus, the narrator and princess spar over the way the story will unfold, as princes, one by one, get ousted from the scene.
The cast of five includes three actors playing the princes, the narrator and of course, the princess, played by Allexis "Lexii" Roberge of Lebanon, Maine. Unlike the rest of the cast," Roberge is new to the Players' Ring and was recommended by another actor.
"The character of the princess has to have at least a little attitude," noted Lavin. "That's what Lexii brought to the character."
Agreed Brown, "I love that the princess is resilient, and she has a certain attitude and really doesn't need a prince to come and sweep her off her feet."
Lavin and Brown were drawn to Makem-Boucher of Dover for the role of narrator after they worked with her on another recent production by the veterans' organization at the Players' Ring. In "Baby with the Bathwater" Boucher played multiple roles and Lavin was impressed.
"I liked the way she delivered each character," he said "Even though she was an actor, you saw the four different characters."
"A Backwards Fairytale" was included in a student workshop and happened to be published, according to Brown. It exactly fit what Lavin and Brown had been wanting to do apart from the Veterans In Performing Arts.
Like most of the shows in the Players' Ring Late Night Series, "A Backwards Fairytale" is short so the audience will be out before 11.
Brown and some of the actors tried to connect with the playwright, Lehnhoff, on facebook to find out if it has been shown elsewhere.
"We wanted to let her know we are excited to put her show up but we haven't received any feedback," Brown said. "I don't believe she is still writing, or really involved in theater any more ."
The Players' Ring, founded in 1992, provides affordable theater space to local production companies with an emphasis on original works.
"A Backwards Fairytale" will be performed Fridays, Saturday and Sunday July 5 to 14 at the Players' Ring Theatre at 105 Marcy St. in Portsmouth, with shows Fridays and Saturdays at 10 pm and Sundays at 9. Tickets are $14 with discounts for students, seniors, and Players' Ring members. Reservations can be made at playersring.org or 603-436-8123.