From stage props of rubber chickens to a king who pantomimes and a girl nicknamed Fred, Milford High School's drama production of “Once Upon a Mattress” is a musical comedy filled with shenanigans you'd never expect to find in a fairytale. The silliness will unfold on Milford High's stage on Thursday, Feb. 28.
From stage props of rubber chickens to a king who pantomimes and a girl nicknamed Fred, Milford High School's drama production of "Once Upon a Mattress" is a musical comedy filled with shenanigans you'd never expect to find in a fairytale. The silliness will unfold on Milford High's stage on Thursday, Feb. 28.
Pea the bed
A parody based on Hans Christian Andersen's children's book "The Princess and the Pea, "Once Upon a Mattress" takes place in a medieval kingdom ruled by King Sextimus the Silent, who is unable to speak due to a terrible curse. As a result, his terror of a wife, Queen Aggravian, has taken control of the kingdom. Her top priority is to make sure her son Prince Dauntless remains a bachelor.
In an attempt to keep the Prince unmarried, the Queen has decreed that the only princess worthy of marrying him would be one who's sensitive enough to feel a pea hidden beneath a pile of mattresses that they're sleeping on.
One of the princess candidates is the endearing Winifred, who lives near a swamp.
"She's feminine, but she's not extra feminine," said Milford resident Tara Holstein, who plays Winnifred. "She's very independent and she's strong. I really like that she's not a genuine princess. She's not Disney's adaptation of a princess."
Dauntless also isn't your stereotypical young prince, either. He's not very masculine, and he's a little naive. The naivetés of the Prince work in the audience's favor, particularity when his mute father has to chat with him about the birds and the bees through pantomime ("Man to Man").
"I think they're definitely going to find it funny," said senior Alex Frketic, who plays the Prince.
Frketic also feels the audience will appreciate the role reversal between Prince Dauntless and Princess Winnifred.
"In typical fairytales the prince usually saves the princess," he said. "But in 'Once Upon a Mattress,' the Princess saves the Prince."
Persistence pays off
Director Carissa Meiklejohn has been a fan of "Once Upon a Mattress" since she saw actress Sarah Jessica Parker perform a song from the musical on the Tony Awards in the late 1990s. Her fascination with the musical soared higher after she learned the role of Winnifred was originated by Carol Burnett, another actress she admires.
For the last decade, Meiklejohn has been lobbying to debut the musical at Milford High.
"Every year when the musical staff gets together, I always say, let's present 'Once Upon a Mattress,'" beamed Meiklejohn. "But the timing was never right."
After a decade of petitioning for the production, Meiklejohn has won the campaign.
"As soon as we started working on it, the other staff members immediately said, 'now we see why you wanted to do it,'" she said. "Everybody has sort of caught on to it. 'Once Upon a Mattress' is really fun ─ from the music to the dancing to the jokes in the show."
IF YOU GO
WHAT 'Once Upon a Mattress,' presented by Milford High School
WHEN 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27; 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28; 1 and 7 p.m., Saturday, March 1
WHERE Milford High School, 1019 N. Walnut St., Milford
COST $8 for adults; $6 for students and seniors. A $1 discount will be given to anyone who brings a ticket stub from the Milford Lions Club spaghetti dinner (4 to 7 p.m.) on March 1 in the MHS cafeteria.
INFO Visit mhs.milfordschooldistrict.org or call 422-1610