Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sleeping Beauty Steampunk Theatre Production

Note: Yes, I know I said I'd be posting on steampunk Cinderella
and that IS coming but this is breaking news I must share:

There's a new theatrical production of Sleeping Beauty - a steampunk production!

From the time traveling narrator to the set, to the symbolism included in the steampunk influenced costumes, right through to incorporating some traditional ballet-mime gestures from the ballet, this is a Sleeping Beauty that combines the old and the new - literally.
Promotional photo of the Sleeping Beauty production from Storybook Theatre

Here are some excerpts from an article I read yesterday to give you some examples of how the steampunk aspect is employed:

There is also (the) narrator of this tale, which gives the play a true "storybook" feel. But rather than make the narrator be just a regular person, MPC's creative team has turned the narrator into a time traveler who can transcend the years while the lovely princess sleeps.

The creative symbolism goes even further with the artistry of costume designer Kathleen O'Brien, who has taken the fairy princess gowns and added elements of steampunk.

"It's a fun Edwardian romantic style, then you have bits of sprockets of cameras, computers, springs, parts or entire pieces mixed into costumes," said Rosa. "It's an interesting juxtaposition of the Victorian era look with things that are outside that era."

...The theme of timelessness is also incorporated into the set design by Ramie Wikdahl. "The set is wonderful," said Rosa. "It has a Tuscan Renaissance feel to it. Then there is a steampunk element in the land of magic — the fairy section of the set. There is a romance feel and feeling of time passing as well. The stone wall is crumbling down into the land of fairies."
You can read the whole article HERE.

Sleeping Beauty by Margaret Tarrant

Apparently this version has more than one prince trying to rescue Sleeping Beauty - two that fail and one that doesn't, though whether he breaks the spell or just happens to have good timing is often not explained. I'm curious to see if this production does.

Speaking of time, I love this idea of Sleeping Beauty, steampunk and time travel. I've always thought the spinning wheel is a good symbol of time and it works doubly well for the steampunk approach (gears, wheels etc).

The director/choreographer Carol Heiland-Rosa says this production is aimed at the family with fun and wonder for younger children to enjoy but also layers of symbolism and humor the adults will enjoy.
Carol Heiland-Rosa

"This is a very fun version of Sleeping Beauty,'" said Rosa. Many of the fun adaptations are the handiwork of writer Michele Vacca, whose work is known for its ability to mesmerize young audiences while at the same time having enough wit and style to entertain adults.
From the Monterey Peninsula College's website:
Michele L. Vacca's scripts are distinguished by their proven ability to entertain and educate younger audiences, while having the style, verve, and wit to fascinate adults.
The production is being put on by Monterey Peninsula College's Storybook Theatre and had their first performance last night (there was also a preview night on Thursday) and is set to run for three consecutive weekends through to November 22nd. While Storybook Theatre uses theater arts students as part of the production, the standard is professional and company highly regarded. Not surprisingly, some of the shows are already sold out.
Sleeping Beauty by Millicent Sowerby

Here's the information from the end of the article:

·What: MPC Storybook Theatre presents "Sleeping Beauty"
·Where: MPC Studio Theatre, Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont St., Monterey
·When: Opens at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6; continues at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees through Nov. 22
·Tickets: $9-$15, with group discounts available, at MPC Box Office (646-4213) 3-7p.m Wed-Fri. and two hours prior to each show, or online at
·Information: 646-4213 or

For another Sleeping Beauty story involving time travel you can check out Sheri S. Tepper's "Beauty". This book, while centered around the Sleeping Beauty story, retells the stories of other fairy tale heroines too - eg Snow White, Cinderella and more - in a fractured fairy tale-type way. Tepper is known for tackling social issues in her books, such as environmentalism and women's issues and this book is no different. There's an interesting positive review HERE and a different informative one HERE.Regarding the play, I'd dearly love to see this unique production but after much time spent trying figure out my travel options from LA I don't think I can manage it. If anyone attends I'd love to hear what you thought - make sure you go get your tickets ASAP, before it completely sells out.

Break a leg MPC Storybook Theater people!

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