WCJC Drama Department reworks classic fairytales
Cinderella will get a world-class makeover when the Wharton County Junior College Drama Department presents The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon, which kicks off its first of three performances on Thursday, May 1, in the Duson-Hansen Fine Arts Building on the Wharton campus.
Not only will the show present an unusual, modern rendition of the rags-to-riches fairytale, it will feature a remarkable performance by an actor who will singlehandedly tackle the story’s major roles – from Fairy Godmother to Wicked Stepmother to Cinderella herself.
And just to spice things up? That actor just happens to be a man.
“I know all the lines and I still roll with laughter every time I see it,” said WCJC Instructor of Drama Jami Hughes. “It’s very high energy.”
No one knows more about that energy expenditure than WCJC student Bryson Baugus. A Richmond resident who has become a regular in Horton Foote Theatre productions, Baugus is set to present his finest – and perhaps most bizarre – work to date when he acts out the role of several female characters during The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon. His performance will require instantaneous character switches, complete with costume changes and voice alterations. Oh, and don’t forget the wigs. Baugus will wear several, with some stacked on top of each another.
“It’s fun for me because it’s the first time I’ve been able to showcase a bunch of characters within one scene,” Baugus said. “It makes it really exciting.”
During rehearsals, Hughes encouraged Baugus to experiment with different voices to indicate the switch in characters. Having previously done voice overs for cartoons and online projects, Baugus had no problem coming up with a plethora of choices.
“I do this by trial and error,” he said. “I try to see what makes people laugh.”
Hughes is expecting plenty of laughs during the production. Originally written by Don Zolidis, the play has been upgraded for modern audiences.
“We’ve added some stuff to it to bring it up to date,” she said, adding that she also cut some of the more mature scenes and dialogue to keep it kid friendly. “It’s a children’s show, but will be fun for all ages.”
Area elementary school students will get a sneak peek of the show on Wednesday, April 30 during a pair of matinee performances. The production will open to the general public on Thursday, May 1.
Hughes deemed the Spectaculathon a “mega story,” one that blends numerous Brothers Grimm fairytales as well as some of the Disney classics. Most of the actors – like Baugus – will tackle several roles, with two narrators holding it all together. Audience participation will be encouraged.
“Getting the students in and out of the costume pieces will be challenging,” Hughes said.
This is Hughes’ first production for WCJC. She arrived at the college in January after teaching theater for Lone Star College in the Woodlands. Hughes holds a master’s degree in acting from Louisiana State University and has more than 17 years of teaching experience.
In addition to teaching, she hones her craft through regular acting opportunities and has previously worked as a professional actor in Dallas and New Orleans, La.
“I’m an acting director,” Hughes said.
She joins fellow Instructor of Drama, Greg McLarty, in overseeing WCJC’s projects. What Hughes has seen so far has made quite an impression.
“The actors and actresses are really good here,” she said. “They’re willing to try to do something new and are doing a fantastic job.”
In addition to Baugus, other cast and crew members include Victoria Brun of Richmond, Ashley Beck of Sheridan, Kristi Callies of Beasley, Isaac Cox of Beasley, Jaime Gonzales of Rosenberg, David Hesse of Pearland, John Ramirez of Rosenberg, Lauren Rozner of Lolita, Leofrice Tilley of Cuero, Katelyn Wood of El Campo and Troy Hausler of Rosenberg.
The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon will be held from Thursday, May 1 to Saturday, May 3 in the Duson-Hansen Fine Arts Building on the Wharton campus, 911 Boling Highway. Showtime for all three performances is at 7 p.m. and admission is free.
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