Theatre Arts Program Book of Fairy Tales

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Charr Davenport

Connor Deming narrating Norwegian fairy tale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.”

Charr Davenport, Reporter

The Bakersfield College Theatre Arts Program presented their Spring production, “The Book of Fairy Tales: Stories from Around the World,” via YouTube from March 12 through March 21. The play is based on Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales and was adapted and directed by theatre professor Cody Ganger.

“The Book of Fairy Tales: Stories from Around the World” is a play consisting of ten parts, each a folk tale from a different country. Different styles of visual performance were used in various tales, including shadow puppetry and the usage of silhouettes.

According to the Bakersfield College Theatre Arts webpage, the production was put on by students of the Spring 2021 THEA B27: Acting Theatre Lab class. Members of the cast were Vanessa Beltran, Connor Deming, Ivy Hasselbar, Alexxandra Lamacchia, Jason Land, Michael Morales, Serena Ornelas, Abraham Ortega, Abigail Putman, April Toelle, and Shane Young, with title card design done by Sophia Fabrizio and production design done by Bakersfield College theatre technician Kevin Ganger.

“When doing a play during a pandemic, it forces you to be more creative and it is kind of a beautiful thing,” said actress and student Ivy Hasselbar. “I got to try forms of acting like silhouette and voice acting and telling a story via a shadow box and it was so fun and rewarding.”

Connor Deming, also a student and actor in the play, felt similarly. “I think virtual plays allow for more creative thinking. In this show we really had to figure out what we were going to do, how were we going to stage this, and that. Because of this, it really made it feel like this play was our own. Each story was a different style because we all had our own ideas and interpretations.”

While virtual theatre seems optimal during the COVID-19 pandemic, it does have drawbacks. “Virtual plays are tough. It’s just not the same as a full-on, audience full performance,” stated Deming. “There’s no audience to bounce off of. There’s not that adrenaline rush, or nervous sweat, or giggling excitement seconds before you have to go on stage. I know for me personally that those feelings were what really made me interested in theater and acting.”

“When a challenging situation arises, you have the option of whether to throw your hands up and say ‘this is impossible’ or use it as an opportunity to try new things and push yourself. I’m grateful to be a part of a program that has obviously chosen the latter option,” said professor and director of the play Cody Ganger. “At the moment, the theatre program is handling the pandemic as well as we can. Many colleges have completely shut down their theatre programs, so we’re very lucky to still be able to create theatre, in one form or another. Almost every production the theatre department has put on since the beginning of the pandemic has been a different online form. 

We had an audio play, a stop motion film using LEGOs, an animated film, a silent film with actors wearing masks, a Zoom play, and now this virtual storytelling film performance.”