Are the heady allegories and moral objectivism of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” and “Aesop’s Fables” a little stuffy for your tastes? Then Community Players has just the show for you.
Putting a postmodern spin on fairy tales, “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales” opens this Friday at Community Players in Beatrice. Based on the kids book of the same name, “The Stinky Cheese Man” plays this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. as part of Community Players’ educational Acting Up program.
The show features plenty of familiar faces from the pages of your favorite bedtime stories, they’re just a bit, well, different. There’s Jack—of Jack and the Beanstalk fame—who’s again at odds with the giant, but this time he’d rather tell his own story than grind bones to make bread, the princess gets her the under-mattress pea promoted to a bowling ball and the gingerbread man is now a made of cheese and no one wants to chase him.
“It's one of those classic kids books and one that was around when I was a kid and that I found a lot of fun at the time,” said director Tyler Rinne. “It's those fairy tales that everybody knows, but they're sillier takes on that which is always a fun time.”
This is the 14th Acting Up show put on by Community Players. The program—now in its seventh year— is for kids in fifth through eighth grades, but the shows they put on are for everyone, Rinne said.
This show marks the seventh for Ian Scheele, who plays the Stinky Cheese Man, and Noah Smith, who plays Jack, who said they keep coming back to the theater every year because it’s a great experience.
“I like to come back and see my friends and also getting on a stage and performing in front of others,” Scheele said.
While they’re old hands with the program now, taking on the role of Jack, who’s the narrator of the show, was a pretty big leap for Smith, and it’s the biggest part he’s taken on so far.
“At first, I was a little nervous because I didn't know if I would be able to memorize all the lines,” he said. “But I did, so I'm enjoying it a lot.”
Acting Up is sort of a training ground for kids who are interested in theater, Rinne said. Even after they’ve aged out of the program, a lot of them come back to run the lights and stage manage, he said.
One of the biggest challenges with running a popular program like Acting Up is finding a show with at least 30 good parts for kids, Rinne said. With “Stinky Cheese Man”, there are a whole host of hefty roles from classic fairy tales, which has given the students a feeling of ownership over the show, he said.
Tickets for the show are going fast, Rinne said, especially for the Friday performance, which is about halfway sold out. He said he’d recommend buying tickets early at the theater’s box office or by phone at (402) 228-1801, though there will probably be tickets available at the door. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students.
“The Stinky Cheese Man” has a little bit of something for everyone, he said. Just because it’s a show starring kids doesn’t mean it’s not something everyone can enjoy, he said.
“It has that irreverent kind of humor that an adult is going to appreciate,” Rinne said. “It's kind of like a Warner Brothers cartoon, where there's gags for the kids and then there's gags for the parents. And there's ones that everyone can enjoy, so it’s definitely a show for the whole family.”