This article first appeared in print in the September issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.
There’s something incredibly special about live theatre performed outdoors. Revelstoke will have a chance to experience that magic when The Frog Prince is performed at Track Street Growers later this month.
Anna Fin, a local actor and director whose new production company Mystic Moonbeam studio is presenting the play, said the inspiration for the outdoor setting came from her horse.
“I have a horse at the Selkirk Saddle Club and my first horse I had there, her name was Mystic Moonbeam, and every time I would go and feed her I would look around and go, ‘Oh, this is beautiful. This is like a fairy-tale setting,” said Fin.
Fin had come across Pulitzer prize winning playwright David Mamet’s version of The Frog Prince. She fell in love with the play and originally wanted to have it performed at the saddle club, but said that wasn’t something that was able to happen. Still, Fin knew an outdoor setting was what The Frog Prince needed.
“There are certain stories that work indoors, however, I feel like a fairy tale in particular works so well with an idyllic outdoor setting, a little meadow, a grove, a will tree, flowers … that sets the scene already. It’s magical enough. I feel that’s where a fairy tale belongs. And then to bring people to watch it outdoors, I think there’s something about that,” she said.
With her mind set on an outdoor stage, Fin reached out to Track Street Grower’s Sarah Harper to ask for ideas on possible venues. The two have previously worked together on stage and five years ago acted in a piece that ended up at the Kootenay Zone Fest, with both Harper and Fin earning awards.
“It was quite a ride and I’ve always appreciated and looked up to Sarah as an artist, as an actor on stage and also all the tech stuff she does,” said Fin.
It was Harper who suggested Track Street Growers as the perfect outdoor venue for The Frog Prince. Harper also has a background being involved with festivals and festival creation, including the annual Garlic Fest held at Track Street each fall.
“I’m super excited for this connection because I am a festival maker and I love the theatre, the theatre was always my church. Garlic festival fulfills some of that, and I’ve been working to bring more theatrical aspects into garlic fest because that’s where my love is, and that festival highlights musicians and supports artists, so having the theatre arts here on the property is super fulfilling for me,” said Harper.
The play itself involves three actors —Fin, Matthew Krist, an actor from Toronto, and local Ray Cooper, who Fin says she is excited to work with. “He’s a very talented fellow and from the first time I saw him on stage, I think maybe three or four years ago I thought ‘I want to work with him’.”
Mamet’s version of The Frog Prince runs about 45 minutes long, and for those familiar with the playwright’s other works, this one doesn’t contain the profanities and language he is known for, making it a family-friendly option suitable for ages 7 and up.
The Frog Prince takes place at Track Street Growers on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and On Sunday, Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. Admission is $13 for adults, $8 for children. Tickets are available at ArtFirst Gallery, The Revelstoke Visitor Centre, via e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org or at the door.
The Frog Prince will also be featured in an adapted form the next weekend at LUNA Art Festival.