Plainview Bear Theatre presents “Once Upon a Mattress” this weekend
May 13, 2016
Southern Torch (3655 articles)
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Plainview Bear Theatre presents “Once Upon a Mattress” this weekend

By Joseph M. Morgan

joseph@southerntorch.com

FORT PAYNE, Ala.—Plainview High School’s award-winning Plainview Bear Theatre company will present a stage performance of the musical “Once Upon a Mattress,” a play that retells the classic children’s story,  “The Princess and the Pea” at the Fort Payne Opera House this Friday, May 13 at 7p.m. and Saturday, May 14 with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. and a Saturday evening showing at 7p.m., followed by a matinee performance on Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m.

Originally starring Carol Burnett, the play “Once Upon a Mattress,” originally hit the stage in 1959 to great critical acclaim. This weekend’s performance is directed by Plainview High School english and theater teacher, Sara Argiro. The performance this weekend of “Once Upon a Mattress,” marks the fourth musical Argiro has directed at Plainview in the last five years.

“They act, they sing, they dance. They learn songs and dances and then how to put it all together and do it at the same time. Then we learn scene by scene, one step at a time,” Argiro said. “We are constantly layering in something new, adding in a little at a time.”

The theater company, technically an extracurricular school club, has about 40 members and performs two major shows a year. During the fall of last year, the participated in the Walter S. Trumbauer Theatre Competition, where their performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” won Best in Show District along with many individual awards.

“We’re like a family and I’ve got a hard-working group of kids,” Argiro said. “And unlike athletics where teams compete against schools that are similar in size, we compete against everybody,” Argiro said. “The kids work really hard.”

“Once Upon a Mattress” is set in 15th-century European kingdom reigned over by Queen Aggravain and King Sextimus. The queen is overprotective of her son Prince Dauntless, and makes life difficult for each of the princess suitors who attempt to steal the prince’s eye.

Plainview senior Allie Dierks plays one of the lead roles of Princess Winnifred, or Fred. Dierks joined the company as a freshman, and will attend Southeastern Missouri University this fall on scholarship.

“I’ve learned a lot and the experience has kind of opened me up a little bit,”Dierks said. “I’m not as shy as I was and I’ve learned a lot about music and building friendships.”

The role of Queen Aggravain is performed by Clancey Rice, who has also been with the Bears Theatre group since she was a freshman at Plainview. “The thing I’m looking forward to the most during our first performance is hearing the audience laugh,” Rice said. “That is my favorite part of every show. I live for that.”

Bear Theatre company member Andrew Bowlan plays the role of Prince Dauntless in his first musical.

“This is my first rodeo. Hey, I just show up and get jiggy with it and have fun. I do sing a little, but I’m not too good at it,” Bowlan said with a smile.

Tickets to this weekend’s production are $5, and all proceeds will be used to help fund the Plainview Bear Theatre’s next production.

“Our mission is to spread the arts in DeKalb County; An appreciation and love for it,” Argiro said. “We want to get people to appreciate what the arts do for kids. We always say that Bear Theatre is a second family. We come together, support each other and love each other.”

All performances are at the Fort Payne Opera House. For tickets or for more information, call 256-638-3510.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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