Maryland Gazette
November 9, 2013

West County: Archbishop Spalding offers a modern twist on childhood plays

By ATALIE DAY BROWN Correspondent

"Let's strike the podium," Archbishop Spalding High School drama director Jacki Dixon instructed her students as they arranged props on the school stage before a run-through of "Fairy Tale Theatre." The auditorium is vibrating with excitement as students prepare for their first "no line call" rehearsal of this fall theater production.

"Fairy Tale Theatre" has two acts consisting of 11 short plays geared toward entertaining a younger audience, a genre that Spalding Theatre has yet to attempt with any of its previous productions.

"This play is exposing everyone to a new genre," Dixon said.

Earlier in the school year, Dixon and her students read through material from "Aesop Refabled" and "Fairy Tail," two collections of short plays. If students enjoyed the skit's subject matter, she included them in the production's lineup. Most of the short plays are derived from well-known fairy tales or fables that have been modernized by contemporary playwrights.

Some of the plays the students selected include the Three Little Pigs, various adaptations of Aesop's fables and an adapted adventure of Prince Charming's search for his one true love. Will he choose Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty or Snow White?

Kristina Bridgwater and Summer McKinney star in the short play "Can't Forget," in which they play best friends, Fox and Mouse, who are working through a rough patch in their adolescent relationship. This is Kristina's first time performing in a short, stage act play.

"They're really fun," she said. She particularly enjoys working alongside her classmates. Her performance background has mostly been in musicals, produced both inside and outside of Spalding Theatre.

Auditions were opened to the entire school, not just to performing arts students. Football players, cheerleaders, chorus singers, even students with no previous acting experience all are working alongside one another to perform this family-friendly play for the public.

Twenty-six students star in the production that encompass 46 different characters and multiple narrators. In addition, four student producers and 15 to 25 technical stagehands are helping to establish it as another successful Spalding Theatre production.

The production will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Nov. 16 and 2 p.m. Nov. 17.

Tickets cost $10. Children ages 7 and younger pay $7. Tickets only will be sold at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.

For details, call 410-969-9105 or visit