author: ethan butterfield | a&c writer
Sterling brings the princess-rock musical off Broadway to the city.
So, as of recently, I had the chance to go to the Sterling Productions feature of Disenchanted here at the University of Regina’s Riddell Centre. I must say, the show was absolutely brilliant. An empowering tale for women to not be held down by what society portrays as the norm. This tale brings together classic Disney princesses and presents them with such risqué hilarity that I thought my lungs would give out. For more on the show overall, below you’ll find an interview that I was extremely happy to hold with Artistic Director Shanna-Marie Jones.
What was it like getting the cast and crew together and working with everyone?
I think it was a really special experience, not only because the show is so new and it’s just right off Broadway, well off off-Broadway. No one had heard of it before, so there was all this buzz and this excitement around a show that involved so many princesses, because everybody loves being a princess. So there was all of that excitement, plus the show had a really strong message and I think that was really important. But putting it together, there was a lot of songs, so the show is a very different style of show, it’s a cabaret or vaudevillian style of show, so it had a lot of choreography and a lot of music and not a lot of script, which is not what a lot people are used to. So that took a lot of extra work as well, but the cast and the crew were absolutely phenomenal, everybody was really dedicated, especially because they loved it so much. So it was great.
Since this is an empowering show for women, and a lot of women are involved with the show, what in your mind or your eyes did you feel that the main message of the show would be for women?
I think the main message is actually summed up in Sleeping Beauty’s song, which was “Perfect” and how she sings about, you know, she may not have perfect hair, she may not have perfect skin or the perfect body, but she’s perfect just the way that she is, and I really love that. I think that the main message is that every woman, it doesn’t matter who you are or what your culture is, even, you know, what sexuality you are, if you identify yourself as a woman, you are perfect.
As mentioned before, the show is a combination of different styles, very humorous, very risqué, very emotional, was that the original idea going forward into the show? To keep that blend?
The show’s actually written that way; the only difference is that…I think you have to be really careful when producing a show to know you’re demographic and to know where you are. The character of Pocahontas was extremely important to me and I think extremely important to Regina and Saskatchewan as a whole. So I found, unfortunately some of the parts, the way she was treated in the original script was not 100 per cent the way I wanted her to be treated. That being said, it was simply, it actually was the characters around her that I found were a little more offensive. Her character itself was 100 per cent beautiful and 100 per cent honest and I think that was wonderful, but I wanted to tidy up the way the other people treated her as well, just to be respectful. Because she’s not caricature, in fact, she’s the only one who’s a real person, so I wanted to be really respectful to that memory and, of course, that culture as a whole.
How do you feel that risqué humour translated with the audience?
I actually can tell you that my husband’s grandmother, so that’ll set the age for you, came to see the show and she told me she didn’t like it, and that was okay! I know Sterling Productions, our demographic is a younger demographic, which is really important. Most theatre, in the old days, was aimed at those older classics and I think it’s really important that the young people these days are getting their theatre, too. You know, you’re getting your message out and well, she did tell me that she didn’t like it, she did tell me that she liked Rapunzel. So I guess everybody likes Rapunzel! So there are bits and pieces for everyone in it, but as a whole, it lends itself to the younger demographic and that’s okay.
What was said above holds merit as well. Don’t feel like society can judge you on what to wear or how to look in general. You are who you are, and that’s an absolutely amazing person to be. Until next time!