LISBON — Mary Zimmerman’s “The Secret in the Wings,” presented by the Lisbon High School Drama Club, is a theatrical experience which explores the complicated relationship between love and fear through a series of lesser-known fairy tales.
The production is both nightmarish and charming in its execution. Set in a basement, it centers on Heidi, a young girl whose parents go out to dinner and leave her with a babysitter, their next-door neighbor, Mr. Fitzpatrick, who just happens to be an ogre. Mr. Fitzpatrick repeatedly asks Heidi if she will marry him and proceeds to tell her a series of alternately frightening and comic fairy tales, which are brought to life onstage by the actors and technical team using minimal props and costumes, lighting and sound creating images and feelings that render the fairy tales in all their elemental and enduring power.
As the babysitter reads from a book, the characters in each of the tales materialize, with each tale breaking off just at its bleakest moment before giving way to the next one. The central tale is told without interruption, after which each previous tale is successively resumed. The fairytales featured in “The Secret in the Wings” cover decidedly dark topics, but despite the uncomfortable material, there is some innocence and humor in it as well. The whole play is filtered through the lens of a child’s eyes, although may not be appropriate for young audiences.
“The Secret in the Wings” offers up the chance for audience members to discover that fairytales can continue to shape us as adults. The interplay between the love and fear experienced and conveyed by the actors invites each audience member to leave with their own interpretation of its meaning.
The show will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9 and 10, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, at the Lisbon High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets sold at the door: adults $8, students $5.
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Pictured from left are Lisbon High School students Kierra Bouchard, Cam Gosslin, Ben Douquette and Amber Soucy rehearsing “The Secret in the Wings.”