For most of my childhood, I lived in fear of two people: the Wicked Witch of the West (Wizard of Oz) and the Wicked Stepmother in Disney’s Snow White. I get chills just thinking about that now so many years later. For a lot of children, these characters can be quite terrifying, so I’ve gone behind the scenes to help your child tame the Wicked Stepmother in the Puppet Co.’s new production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
First, let’s meet Molly MacKenzie, a likeable young woman who plays both Snow White and the Wicked Stepmother. Yes! Isn’t that interesting? That the actress playing our heroine, Snow White, is also the story’s villain? How can a Snow White become wicked?
Well, it’s all part of theater magic, of course.
Click on this short video and watch Molly at her first costume fitting. Molly and costumer MayField Piper have a lot of fun transforming Molly from nice-girl-next-door to evil queen with just a cape, a crown and some awesome red velvet gloves. And by the way, in this production, the Wicked Stepmother is called the Rose Queen and she’s not Snow White’s stepmother but the prince’s.
In the play, you’ll never see Molly’s face when she’s wearing her Rose Queen costume. The audience only sees the back of the Queen as she snarls at her royal huntsman or talks with the enchanted mirror. One of the many funny bits in the Puppet Co.’s Snow White is that the Queen must speak in rhymes or the mirror won’t respond to her. It’s a little like Fairy Tale Jeopardy. At one point the Queen fumes: “I hate rhyming questions, they sound really dumb!”
As always The Puppet Co. does an enchanting job of blending live actors with puppets. All of the dwarves are puppets and each has a special talent – like being super strong or having super hearing. Your child will pick up on these talents very quickly. Some children find puppets with their unblinking eyes a little off-putting. If this is true for your child then you might show him this short video on how the dwarves were constructed. They’re made out of Styrofoam. Not scary at all.
As a mom, I’ve found that deconstructing the scary things ahead of time allowed my son to put away his anxiety and then we could have real fun. Hope you have fun too at Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, now through September 2 at The Puppet Co. in Glen Echo Park. Click here for dates, times and tickets.
By Shellie Williams, a Montgomery County mom, who writes for DO & GO’s Behind the Scenes, offering parents tips about upcoming cultural events.