Saturday, July 7, 2012

Play Date! Aladdin at The Cortland Repertory Theatre

Where: Cortland Repertory Theater
Show: Aladdin (Performed by the CRT Troubadours, the intern company)
Date: 6/0/12

Upon hearing of my little brother's the, upcoming school field trip To the CRT, I jumped at the chance to be one of the 4 chaperons allowed to accompany the classroom in its excursion. Normally, his school (Alton B Parker) doesn't really offer anything to anyone but parents and grandparents, I needless to say was very excited. I arrived to his school the morning of the rip, and we left around 9:15. Around 10:40 the play started. 
These period-dressed people (I would guess very late teens) came rushing out onstage, dragging with them, and old chest, upon which sat one of the actresses. They bantered back and forth for awhile, telling of their shipwreck and and journey to shore, and how all they had left was what was in the chest. They continued to banter about who was most important to the group, and acknowledged they they would still put on a play, but had to see what survived the journey to determine what could be done. They settle on Aladdin and proceed to hand out parts, props, costume pieces and start the play. 

Chris Collins - The Genie
Avery Epstein - The Director
Alexander Hulett - Aladdin
Alexa Shanahan - The Sorceress
Abby Sheridan - The Princess
Parker Slaybaugh - The Sultan

It begins with The Princess pining about her current love life and people her father (The Sultan) chose for her to date (People were brought up from the audience to create this). Along comes Aladdin, with whom she almost immediately falls deeply in love with. They have a music-backed (The Lovin' Spoonful's "Do You Believe In Magic" and Taylor Swift's "Love Story") montage, when the Sultan enters and immediately chastises the Princess and places a difficult challenge on Aladdin if truly loves the Princess and wants to win her hand in marriage. The Sorceress (Later revealed to be the Sultan's wife, and the Princess' mother) Overhears of the challenge (To find a magic lamp in the "Mysterious Caves of Little York", and bring it back) and enters herself to gain wealth and power. They journey to the caves and through audience participation (Making sounds, lining up to make the cave entrances), make their way to the lamp, where they both struggle with it, and in doing so, summon the genie. In both touching the lamp at the same time, the genie has the audience decide who gets the wishes. Aladdin wins, and uses his three wishes. The first, the hand of the princess, the second, that the Sultan and the Sorceress rediscover their love for each other (Que music!), and the last, to free the genie from his duty to the lamp. More music is heard, and then to end the show, audience members are brought onstage to dance with the actors and actresses.  They come back out after going backstage, and introduce themselves and bow. They announce that they'll be at each exit to take pictures with the kids, and give high-fives.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience to be had. The acting for such young individuals was amazing. It certainly held my attention, as it did the rest of the children who attended the show. Even with the plot holes in the story, the ensemble and their excitement and presentation made you look past it and just immerse yourself in the experience. I would most definitely go again, if only just to see this particular casting group. They are headed towards greatness, and I wish them all well.

John Bonham for The Halloween Horror Blog

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