Olde Worlde Theatre Company (OWTC), a comedic children’s theater troupe that brings edge and immediacy to group-created performance art, is revisiting its roots with its latest production of “Rapunzel.” This February, OWTC invites theatergoers of all ages to let their hair down and enjoy a fun-filled escapade into the enchanted world of Prince Nigel and his newfound love Rapunzel.
Published in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm, “Rapunzel” proves a cornerstone piece for OWTC founder Richard Stein, who was first moved to create children’s theater at 14-years-old after experiencing a Danish version of the fairy tale presented by mimes and other street performers. “The spirit that was embodied in that production inspired me to pursue children’s theater and mime,” said Stein. He continued, “To redo a production like this one that goes back to the seminal inspiration of ‘Rapunzel’ performed that day in Denmark when I was a boy, is like saying ‘hello’ to the root of my creative heart.”
Stein and his troupe first re-imagined “Rapunzel” in 2005 with a spellbinding performance that featured Chris Armstrong and Dierdre Jenkins in the leading roles. Eight years later, in a twist of reconnections, Armstrong and Jenkins will return for the 2014 show. Stein, along with Lisa Larson, Judy Winchell and narrator Dave Harrison, rounds out the cast.
A family-centered theater company, OWTC features actors from many generations, including whole family groups, in every performance. With “Rapunzel,” Stein has stayed true to this meaningful tradition by incorporating actors from ages nine to 96. 96-year-old Lynn Folk is featured in the form of a bramble bush. Working with such a multi-generational cast for “Rapunzel” has continued to inspire Stein and reinvigorates his passion for mime and theater arts. Stein said, “Through our work at Olde Worlde Theatre Company, I have realized that people can make anything! People are intrinsically creative!”
Stein describes himself as a craftsman and is a master mason by trade. His focus on storytelling in a grand, colorful fashion has produced a magical show that proves a faithful retelling of a beloved fairy tale filled with modern embellishments, whimsy, mime and mystery. In keeping with OWTC’s group-created approach to writing and absence of formal scripts, each showing of “Rapunzel” proves a one-of-a-kind performance that truly connects with audiences and conveys the story’s classic messages in a contemporary voice.
OWTC will present “Rapunzel” at 10:00 am on Feb. 1, Feb.8, Feb. 15 and Feb. 22 at the Belcourt Theater (www.belcourt.org). Tickets are $8.00 each. For more information about the performance and tickets, please visit www.oldeworldetheatre.com or call 615-300-0374.