Beginning Oct. 29, 2021, the Hiram College Performing Arts Program, with thanks to the Bissell Family, will present “The Secret in the Wings,” an adaptation of Grimms’ fairy tales written by Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman. Originally written and directed for the Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago, the play showcases several of the lesser-known tales by the Brothers Grimm, as experienced by a young girl who is hearing these stories from her ogre babysitter.
“I fell in love with the play,” says Elizabeth Bauman, associate professor of performing arts at Hiram, who selected “The Secret in the Wings” for the performing arts program’s fall season. “It was magical, and celebrated the art of storytelling, which is something all theatre artists are drawn to. It fit the bill for what I was looking for this fall.”
For the production, a total of 10 actors will play multiple roles between each of the fairy tales performed. According to Bauman, the play tests its cast with a challenging pace. “The show never gives them a chance for a break, since if they’re not onstage, they are changing costume pieces and preparing props for the next story,” she says, but also points out that the actors had the opportunity to make the show their own. “Some of the production was developed improvisationally, as the actors contributed bits from their own imaginations.” In addition to the cast, a crew of 15 students is handling the sets, props, costumes and behind-the-scenes operations needed to run the show.
“While we often cannot control, tame, or even simply comprehend the surreal realms of our actual nighttime dreams, fairy tales manage to express those common, shared elements of our subconscious in a simplified and straightforward way.”
“The Secret in the Wings” will be directed by Jeff Haffner, actor and adjunct instructor of theatre at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. Haffner has been a part of Hiram College theatre productions in the past, working as dialect coach for “Dancing at Lughnasa” in 2018 and slated to direct in spring 2020. However, when production was canceled due to the pandemic, Bauman was happy to invite him back this fall.
In his directorial note, Haffner says about the play: “Much has been written about the fairy tale and its mysterious, yet deep and unrelenting hold on every one of us. While we often cannot control, tame, or even simply comprehend the surreal realms of our actual nighttime dreams, fairy tales manage to express those common, shared elements of our subconscious in a simplified and straightforward way.”
Performances begin on Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in Hiram’s Renner Black Box Theatre. Additional performances are scheduled for Oct. 30 as well as Nov. 5 and 6, also at 7:30 p.m. Members of the community are welcome to attend. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at 330.569.5242 or emailing email@example.com. Due to the College’s health protocols, all audience members will be required to wear masks when indoors, and temperature checks will be taken at the door.