This Week at Hampton: Brothers Grimm

Brothers Grimm classics brought to life

See all of your favorite classic bedtime stories brought to life at the Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon Saturday, Aug. 11, and Sunday, Aug. 12, at the open-air theater in Lower Henry Law Park in Dover.

It’s part of the annual Cocheco Arts Festival, and shows start at 2 and 4 p.m.

The Garrison Players Arts Center will be performing this one-act show in an attempt to recreate all 209 of the famous Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, combining them into one 40-minute fable.

Seven actors and actresses will be playing over 20 well-known roles including Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and more, so audiences can expect fast-paced, quick-costume-changing improvisational theater at its finest, according to the show’s director, Mary Irons.

“Last year was beautiful and with the river in the background it’s a scenic spot with the historic mills in the background. It’s a nice spot on a weekend in August,” said Dover Chamber of Commerce Community Events Manager Morgan Faustino.

The play is fun and meant for people of all ages.

“There is definitely some adult humor in it but it is funny for families but there is some stuff that will go over the kids’ heads, but it’s all in good fun,” said actor and producer Chris Gempp. “We had done Shakespeare the last two years for the theater in the park and we wanted to go a different route this year so when I saw this script I thought it was in the same realm — a little bit quirky with comedy. … We think the audiences will enjoy it.”

Irons encourages children and families to engage with the shows, noting that there will be scenes in which the actors give cues to the audience to shout out different phrases that impact the live performance.

“It’s interactive with the audience and I have encouraged the actors to do improvisation whenever possible so the truck and train noises that may have been a little concerning during our past performances will just end up being a part of the show,” said Irons. “For me, I’m looking forward to that, to see how those exterior sounds will become part of the actual show.”

This free, open air, one-act play is open to the general public and provides a unique experience for people on both sides of the stage, according to Gempp.

“You get to sit there with the river in the background, there are people around playing Frisbee while you’re watching,” Gempp said. “There are people who go to the park to see the show and then there are the people who are walking by and go, ‘Oh, what’s this? I’m going to stop and listen for a few minutes’ It’s a new type of venue. When we’re performing at the theater it’s only the people who are coming here to come see the show, but when you perform outside there are different people who are just walking by, see people in costume and want to watch.”
This year’s play is sponsored by 2 Home Cooks restaurant. Call ahead and bring a cooler the night before and the restaurant will fill it with sandwiches, drinks and desserts for the whole family for an additional fee.

“Bring your blankets, bring something to eat and drink and plan on having a really fun time. It’s a pretty fun experience,” said Irons. “It would be great to fill the park.”
Anyone who is interested may take photos with the different parts of the set at the conclusion of the production.

— Andrew Clay

*Featured photo: Brothers Grimm show, 2017. Photo provided by Morgan Faustino

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