by RoxyRegionalTheatre on January 22, 2016

The Brothers Grimm culled their stories from age-old oral traditions. Over the years, the tales have become pasteurized by none other than Walt Disney, who made them palpable to a large film going audience.

In that, the stories lost much of the lessons which they were meant to teach at a time when no one owned a Bible. Hand-copied and precious, Bibles were an expensive luxury which only a very few could afford, so they were often chained to pulpits.

Children didn’t attend church but heard sermons retold in ways children could understand, possibly from grandparents who reinterpreted the Biblical messages for young ears as fairy tales.

You can easily see in “Little Red Riding Hood” the message to stay on the good path and avoid the bad. The big bad wolf could be and is more understandable to a young listener than the devil.

“Rumpelstiltskin” warns not to tell lies. To do so can only end in trouble — big storybook trouble.

“The Three Billy Goats Gruff” addresses bullying and its repercussions, but after being told we are the most overweight county in the state, I wanted to try to do my part in letting children know about good eating habits, too. In the story, the largest goat — who eats a good breakfast, eats his vegetables, drinks his milk and stays away from fast food — tells his younger siblings to “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” That must work, since he of all his brothers wins easily over the greedy troll.

In “The Three Little Pigs,” underneath the foundations of those straw, stick and brick houses is education. The more you know, the safer and smarter you are.

Of course, all that art is required to do is entertain. But in entertaining, as George Bernard Shaw said, art should make you think. And if thinking can lead to learning, then your art is golden.

Little Red Riding Hood & Friends, featuring Lacey Connell, Tyler John Morrill, Jackie Ostick and Emily Rourke, plays January 23, January 30 and February 6 at 2:00pm, with weekday matinees still available for bookings by school groups.

This February, in recognition of Black History Month, we are producing Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop. The play goes beyond simply depicting what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s final night in Memphis at the Lorraine Motel might have been. It also focuses on the importance of the one person who is part of a whole, making a positive difference in the quality of life for us all — like Christ in the garden of Gethsemane, making the decision to go forward which leads to his demise.

Starring Phillip Bernard Smith alongside Mariah Sade Ralph, The Mountaintop plays public performances on February 24 and 25 at 7:00pm; February 26 at 8:00pm; and February 27 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, with weekday matinees still available for school groups of 20 or more by contacting or (931)645-7699.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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