February 26, 2008
Fairies, wise women and a royal family arrived on Bison Hill at the end of February. Dark combats against light and a struggle for power ensues in the Oklahoma Baptist University Theatre for Young Audiences production of Sleeping Beauty by Charles Way.
"It's not the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty, and it's still not even the original fairy tale. It has a Celtic medieval flair," senior Susan Smoots said. "There are some twists in it that are not in the fairy tale everyone is familiar with."
At the cast's first workshop rehearsal, the dramaturg of Sleeping Beauty, Chera Cole, passed out copies of pictures of the fairies from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. She instructed the cast to cross out the fairies in the pictures in order to relay the difference to them between their production and Disney's Sleeping Beauty.
"The characters are more developed," Smoots said.
She plays the role of Modron, the dark sister who is in a constant power struggle with Branwen, the bright sister played by senior Fiona Rene Oldham. Smoots was surprised when she received the role. She is petite and looks nothing close to evil.
"What I have enjoyed most about this particular production is the surprise, joy and challenge of getting to play a part that people wouldn't necessarily look at me and pick me for. It was really funny to see the call board and see that I had gotten this part," Smoots said. "As actors we have the conflict of knowing our marketability but still being able to experiment beyond that."
Sleeping Beauty and the character of Modron give Smoots an opportunity to think critically about vocal production and to learn how to successfully warm up her voice. She feels that OBU has provided her with the experience of finding her true voice and further creating character voices.
"Modron needs something that's bigger than me. I have to create a voice that goes along with the image I have to portray," she said.
The cast of Sleeping Beauty rehearses daily from 7 to 10 p.m. They have other rehearsals which are focused on certain groups of characters. Smoots rehearses stage combat with senior Nathan Hollis, who plays Prince Owain, for their final scene.
The cast had roughly three weeks to put this show together. Although this endeavor could be stressful, the Sleeping Beauty cast has found a way to enjoy themselves and their production.
"We're really good at laughing with each other, which takes a lot of pressure out of such a fast rehearsal process," Smoots said.
The show will be presented February 22, 23 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. and March 1 at 2:30 p.m. in OBU's Craig-Dorland Theatre.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the OBU Box Office at 405-878-2347 or visiting the box office located in Sarkeys. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for students and $2 for children 12 and younger.