The cast and creative team for CCCT’s upcoming production of THE SECRET IN THE WINGS shared the fairy tales that impressed them the most when they were kids; here’s what they had to say:
ANDREW CALABRESE: I think the fairy tale that really wowed me as a child was The Shoemaker and the Elves. I don’t honestly remember why I liked it so much. Maybe it was the idea of someone finishing your work for you…the shoemaker would just cut out the leather with a plan to make shoes and the next day BOOM! amazing looking shoes that sell for a bundle. Or perhaps it was the first seeds in my mind about artistic collaboration. The sharing of skills to make something… putting energy into creating is a gift and a reward.
RICHARD FRIEDLANDER: Well, this is a toughie. The Walt Disney version of “Pinocchio” scared the s**t out of my little, impressionable self, what with him getting swallowed by a humongous whale and all; I liked “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” because the biggest brother gives the what for to a greedy bully. Loads of others. But the one that seems to elbow its way to the head of the queue is “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, which is a lot more ambiguous than it first appears, although that’s not why I liked it. The visual is just too compelling.
SCARLETT HEPWORTH: I guess it would have to be Sleeping Beauty. There was something so awful about that spindle pricking her finger, and everyone sleeping for 100 years. Stuff like that is truly magical. But it’s also about that kiss, right? Isn’t a kiss still a magical event?
AVI JACOBSON: I was a very early reader. One of my earliest memories is a very old copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales on our family bookshelf. It must have belonged to one of my parents when they were small. The paper was fragile and yellowing, and the binding had begun to crack. I remember reading it in bed when I was at home sick with one childhood illness or another.
One of my favorites was “The Fisherman and his Wife.” The fisherman spared the life of a talking flounder, and his wife kept sending him back to the sea to make more and more grandiose demands of the magical fish. The flounder granted each new wish without hesitation, but the sea grew darker and more stormy with each of the fisherman’s visits, and it was clear to me that this was not going to end well. Sure enough, the last wish—to become like God—was so shockingly inappropriate that in the end the couple lost everything they had been granted. Of the many elements of the story that I loved, I think I was most delighted (as children often are) by the feeling of having guessed a secret, knowing with each new turn in the plot what would happen in the end.
KEITH JEFFERDS: Somehow, when I was still a kid I came across the fairy tales of Oscar Wilde—and my very favorite was The Selfish Giant. This brief and poignant story doubles down on the great motif of selfless love’s power to transform, even to resurrect (Beauty and the Beast, The Frog Prince, Snow White, Cinderella)—and it went straight to the heart of one little lost boy.
ALYSSA KIM: The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage. I enjoyed it as it was, well, grim. The moral is certainly not something I agree with but the tale is enjoyable and darkly comic. The creatures who live together each have a task. The mouse carries water, the bird flies to fetch firewood, and the sausage cooks; using his body to give flavor to the day’s soup. One day they decide to switch roles as they’re becoming bored doing the same task each day. Each creature’s task goes awry and they all meet their end in exceedingly creative ways.
JULIA NORTON: Oh, so hard to choose, The Tin Soldier and The Little Match Girl were heartbreaking in a good way, but the one that gave me the most joy over and over again was probably Cinderella. I loved how she escaped and outshone her awful bullying sisters and stepmother.
JOEL STANLEY: I remember being told the story of the three little pigs, all that hugging and puffing and houses being blown down. Looking back at it, it still resonates—the structures we build around us can never provide total security.
GEORGIA TAYLOR BENEDICT: Absolutely, Julia! “Cinderella” gets my vote, too. She got the prince and lived happily ever after! What could be better than that? When I was a child, I was always compared to my three blond-hair, blue-eyed, thin sisters by my mother’s friends, but I got the prince! Yay!
LISA WANG: My favorite fairy tales were from a book I had as a child called “The Magic Tree” and there were such vivid stories in it that still live with me constantly as an adult. Since these are probably not recognizable to most others, I’m going to go with another very vivid one that was one of my favorites that is a little better known: The Little Mermaid… not the Disney version, but rather, the sad version where she sacrifices herself for the prince and dies, her body becoming sea foam as she jumps into the water. The way that the story went was after she became sea foam, her spirit floated and she was free and happy and looked down upon the prince and his new bride with love and joy as she floated away. It was such a hauntingly tragic yet beautiful story.