It’s 7 PM, opening night is two nights away, and the dress rehearsal for “Into The Woods” is in full swing. Actors bustle around backstage, members of the tech crew make adjustments on sound equipment and a convincing looking cow wanders around set. The cast and crew have diligently worked on the production for seven weeks, and soon the fairytale will come to life in the Scott Center.
The musical follows a baker and his wife who struggle with infertility due to a witch’s spell. In order to break the spell, they must please the witch by retrieving several items that are associated with popular fairytales. The couple seeks out Little Red Riding Hood’s cloak and some of Rapunzel’s hair among other well-known possessions of classic characters. After conflicts are resolved in the whimsical first act, the play quickly turns dark as the characters discover that they may have spoken too soon when they said “happily ever after.” The baker and his wife bicker, princes grow bored with their princesses and a giant is on the loose. “The whole first act is a facade, and then that facade crumbles in act two,” said director Bill Gillett.
Such a complex play obviously takes some time to perfect and custom-tailor. “I approach every play as if it’s the first time it’s being performed,” Gillett said. Preparation for the performance began in December, and things have been busy ever since. One particularly challenging aspect of this production was the score. The ensemble is quite large and recreating Sondheim’s music was difficult, but Carroll’s musicians successfully adapted it. There are also many unique technical elements in the lighting and set for the production which the cast and crew hope come as a surprise to the audience. “The set is absolutely amazing– definitely worth seeing,” said student Katy Gatland, the show’s makeup artist.
After months of preparation, the actors are thrilled to take the stage for this performance. Liam Wallace, who plays the father of the baker, can’t wait to portray an overenthusiastic old man who comically guides characters in the direction they need to go. “I can be goofy!” Wallace said excitedly of the role. “I excel in comedy from what I’ve been told, so this is a great chance for me to go all out.” A seasoned actor, Wallace will be performing in his eighth Carroll production with “Into The Woods.” Laura Glascock, an understudy for one of Cinderella’s stepsisters, is also very eager for the production to begin. “It’s stressful to rehearse as an understudy, but I love the show and the composer,” she said. This will be Glascock’s second show at Carroll.
“Into The Woods” will be performed on March 19, 20, 21 and 26 at 7:30 PM and March 22 at 2 PM. Gillett, a fan of the original show, hopes that this will be a delightful and memorable adaption. “We had to create some magic because this is a fairytale after all,” he said.