ABOVE: Aidan Wells Filbert, musical performance senior, Brynn Hampton, musical theatre freshman, Kaela Massey, musical theatre junior, and Jessica Burk, theatre junior, strike their final pose in a scene in Into the Woods.  Into the Woods will be performed on April 5th & 6th at 7:30 p.m. and April 7th at 2 p.m. in Messenger Recital Hall. (Emily Berry/Staff photographer)

By Tierney Sutton
Staff reporter

On April 5-7, the Southwestern theatre department will be premiering their original performance of Into the Woods in Messenger Recital Hall in the Darbeth Fine Arts building.

Into the Woods is a twist on the The Brothers Grimm’s fairytales. The story follows characters that we know from our childhood as kids, such as Jack in the Bean Stalk, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, And Rapunzel. 

Jennifer Hemphill, who is director of Into the Woods, could not be happier with the outcome. Hemphill said, “This performance of Into the Woods has never been done like this, one notable aspect is that we don’t have any trees, because it takes place in an attic rather that in the woods. The special thing about attics is that they are memory holders and that fits Into the Woods really well. The approach to this performance is that there is no specific time, its takes place today but the costumes are a representation of decades past.”

Hemphill hopes that this performance will spark thought into the audience rather than just hoping the audience will like it.

“I don’t direct things in hopes that people will like it, I direct things in hope that people will think about it. Even if that’s ‘wow I didn’t like that concept,’ it still sparks dialogue, and sticks with you,” said Hemphill

 “The same goes to her students as well,” adds Martin Rude, the director of Outreach ministries, who will be playing the mysterious man. 

Martin Rude, the director of Outreach ministries, who will be playing the mysterious man said, “The same goes to her students as well.”

Aidan Wells Filbert, who will be playing Rapunzel’s prince and Florinda the step sister said, “You can’t really get away with doing anything in class without knowing why, but that’s really cool because the whole processes is this balance of preparation and exploration.”

“Lets say one day I go to rehearsal in a really angsty mood, well that’s ok because the prince can have a angsty side to him,” said Filbert

Filbert said the most difficult part of trying to find his character is during the Agony reprise song.

“It’s the same song as before but the emotions are different, and that is difficult,” said Filbert.

 Another hard scene for him was when he plays a shrieking stepsister.

“The step sisters demand attention and command the audience to remember they are there, which is hard to find,” said Filbert.

Tanner Schartz, will be playing Cinderella’s prince, Lucinda, and the wolf. Schartz said that he too at first had trouble connecting to the wolf because it is the opposite of who he is.

“In being the wolf I have to embody what a predator would be like in human form, and diving deep into that and focusing on how they stalk their prey, how they move and hunt. I have to embody something I don’t see myself as. it’s the opposite of who I am, and in trying to find something who I am in this character I had to put myself into primal instincts, wanting to be secure in food wanting to be secure in shelter. Every character in the show wants something and the wolf wants to be secure in that,” said Schartz.

Hemphill on Schartz’s character the wolf, said, “In the show Tanner isn’t in a wolf costume, we don’t try to show that he is a different character, the idea is that you see the prince and then you see his alter ego, just as we do in the current media commonly right now, it is common to see these perfect people and it comes out on the news that they had a dark side.”

“No one is perfect, its very humanizing to be playing both parts.” Schartz Said

Ryan Pangracs, who plays the baker admired his character and had to find common ground with the baker by picturing what he would do anything for.

Pangracs said, “My favorite aspect of his character is the way the baker is openness to change, there are a lot of times [in the performance] that he is able to recalibrate when something doesn’t go his way and I really admire that. In act one, the whole goal of my character is to have a child and I don’t want children I had to do a lot of soul searching to find what I would want and go to extreme measures to get. I have connected in no superficial way.”        

Rude shares that he had to develop a more of a father bond when working with Pangracs, and less of a student instructor relationship. Rude said, “I had a lot to draw from to get the bond right, and trying to reconcile those choices the mysterious man makes.”

Hemphill said, “Into the Woods are preverbal, they are a metaphor for people going through a tough time, and students in college can relate to that You think you are out the woods when you graduate high school, and then you back into them. Then you think you are out of the woods when you graduate but then you are in a whole new set of woods, they are ever changing and never really go away.”

The theatre department has two showings of Into the Woods left. Their next show times are April 6 at 7:30 p.m. and April 7 at 2 p.m. in the Darbeth Fine Arts building.