As I enter the Mainstage Theatre of the E.O. Bull Center for the Arts, I am immediately greeted with an electric energy just as vibrant as the spectacular sight of the stage before me. The theatre has been transformed into a cardboard playland like something directly out of a children’s story, appropriate considering the stage is set for the Department of Theatre and Dance’s upcoming production of “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.” The show is based on the hit picture book by Jon Scieszka, adapted for the stage by John Glore.
I had the privilege of interviewing the production’s director, Professor Charlie DelMarcelle, to ask what the process of bringing this beloved story to the stage is like. “The process has been really collaborative and dynamic,” DelMarcelle said in reference to working with the cast and designers. He continued to say one of the best parts of directing theatre at the collegiate level is the large number of student collaborators he gets to work with. “We have no constraint on cast size,” he said, “so we can cast as many people as we feel we can make costumes for, I suppose.”
Children’s theatre is one of DelMarcelle’s specialties, and he was eager to express his excitement about bringing children’s theatre back to WCU. “Recently, we’ve made it a priority at the university to try and offer a few shows a season that we think will resonate with school groups, children and families in the area.” However, he also stressed the idea that this show is not just for children. “I think if ‘The Stinky Cheese Man’ was a recurring show on cartoon network, you’d be watching it the same way you do ‘Adventure Time’ or ‘We Bare Bears’ or anything like that that has gained popularity with college students.” This is a notion I can certainly back up, as DelMarcelle allowed me to sit in on a rehearsal and watch a run of the show. The story is filled to the brim with hilarity, not just for children, but adults as well. The author does a great service to the adults in the audience by throwing in quite a few jokes for them that will likely fly over the heads of the children in the audience.
The show is led by WCU fourth year student Charley Bloomfield as the narrator, backed up by a gaggle of other characters from classic fairy tales. The cast truly works together as an ensemble to create a fantastically funny fairy tale fiasco that will have audiences falling out of their seats with laughter. To quote DelMarcelle, “This show is like a glorious, chaotic, goofy dumpster fire, in all the best ways,” and from what I was able to see in rehearsal, I more than agree.
“The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales” will run in the Mainstage Theatre of the E.O. Bull Center of the Arts April 26, 27 and 28. Tickets are $13 for students, faculty, seniors and veterans, $16 for adults, and can be purchased online at www.wcupa.edu/TheatreDanceTickets.
Samantha Stewart is a third year theatre major with a minor in elementary education. SS877048@wcupa.edu