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East Ridge High School’s ‘The Glass Slipper’ a twist on classic

East Ridge High School students rehearse their production of “The Glass Slipper.” (Bulletin photo by Amber Kispert-Smith)

East Ridge High School students will be taking to the streets for this year’s spring play.

East Ridge’s production of “The Glass Slipper” will run May 2-3 at the Loft Stage. The school is putting a unique twist on the show, which is essentially the story of “Cinderella” in the performance style of Commedia dell’Arte.

“It is really one of the first forms of street theater in Italy,” said Marcie Berglund, the play director.

Commedia dell’Arte, translated into “comedy of craft,” is a form of improvisational theater focused around sketches and scenarios. Performances take place outside on temporary stages relied heavily on props rather than extensive scenery.

The characters in Commedia dell’Arte usually represent fixed social types or stock characters, which Berglund said has proven to be the greatest challenge.

“We’re building a character from the bottom up,” she said. “We’re connecting body to face. It’s a learning experience for performers.”

In addition to embracing the style of Commedia dell’Arte, Berglund said “The Glass Slipper” is also being billed as a children’s play.

“When we talked about a season, one thing that we never had done is a strict children’s play,” she said. “We did ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ but we didn’t break the fourth wall like true children’s theater does.”

Berglund will be incorporating some special elements into “The Glass Slipper,” including dance and modern music.

“The Glass Slipper” isn’t just for children though, Berglund said, because adults and children alike will laugh at the fun, humor and kookiness of the show.

“It’s ‘Cinderella’, but we’re doing it in a different style, not so traditionally,” she said. “Audiences can expect to laugh because it will be very amusing.

“Plus,” she added, “everyone knows the story.”