A Grimm Nightmare

Anna Hoppe, Editor

The Essex High School auditorium looks like a fairytale is emerging. Dense stands of branches, dotted with little dark details, fill the stage. Costumed actors hurry around before the official start of rehearsal, and the instrumentalists warm up in the corner. 

The EHS Theater is performing “Grimm Nightmare” this week. It is an original adaptation of the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales.

According to information from the EHS website, the show is about “unscrupulous townsfolk of a forest village [who] are lulled into a magical, eerie sleep by the spirits of the wood. In their nightmares they are taught the error of their ways by playing out the Brother Grimm’s tales.”

The Hive interviewed three actors in the show to learn about their roles, their favorite parts of rehearsing, and what they are most excited for the audience to see when the curtain rises on March 16th.

Theo Herrin’s two characters allow him to explore evil and goodness.

Theo Herrin in his witch costume

“I have the witch, which is like classic Hansel and Greta, like she [catches] children and tries to eat them,” Herrin said. “And then later in the show, I turned into Mother Earth which is like a goddess of nature… Over time, she becomes corrupted by the devil [and] turns into a witch that you see earlier in the show.”

His favorite part of rehearsals has been practicing the Hansel and Gretel scene and figuring out what works for the evil witch character, but he’s most excited for the audience to see the set. 

“There are some really fun things happening with tricks of the light and staging, and it’s going to look really cool when it’s all put together,” Herrin said.

Kelsyn Carter is an evil stepsister and a general townsperson in the show. Their stepsister character is a part of “Bearskin,” one of the fairytales included in the show. 

“I’m really excited for [the audience] to see all the fairy tales put together in the story that they tell together,” Carter said. “We’ve done our best to take all the stories that we tell and mash them together into its own world.”

Part of the immersive world the cast and crew are creating is the set, which is Carter’s favorite part of seeing the show develop. 

A fake skeleton bird perches on a set piece

“Watching the set come together is a really magical moment of any show,” Carter said.

Abby Lee’s primary role is Bearskin, a soldier who feels purposeless without a war to fight in. The character also needs money, so they make a deal with the devil to become wealthy. To make the deal, Bearskin has to prove his worth in a fight. Lee has not done stage combat before, but it’s her favorite part of the show.

In exchange for the money, “[Bearskin] basically agrees to not do any personal hygiene for the next seven years and ends up looking like this gross monster, and then loses all like human connection basically, because everyone’s so scared to talk to him,” Lee said.

Bearskin’s lonely life changes when he meets a girl who looks past his appearance. Does that sound a bit like Beauty and the Beast? Not quite. You will have to come see the show to find out what happens!

Showtimes are March 16th, 17th, and 18th at 7pm, and March 19th at 2pm.

Tickets are $5 for students, and $10 for general admission. They can be purchased during block 5/6 the  week of 3/13, or at the door.