When the curtain fell (figuratively) on Riverbank High’s most recent drama (farce) this past Saturday, the stage was strewn with dead bodies, buckets of figurative blood and a new adage proving it doesn’t pay to be one of the many princesses vying for an inheritance from their father, the King of England.
It was shades of Shakespeare’s King Lear, told in a farcical style, mashing up Game of Thrones with a family of Disney-esque princesses, all seeking to inherit the kingdom from daddy. The result is ‘Game of Tiaras,’ with the princesses, all recognizable from Disney animated movies, who fight, to the death, to be the one who comes out on top.
Staged by the RHS Drama Club, the show was put on with assistance by the RHS Stage Craft class, and directed by the high school’s new Drama/English teacher, Lezlie Aker.
‘Tiaras’ was written by Don Zolidis, who came to the high school to put on a four-hour workshop for the students earlier this month. It is one of 95 stage plays he has written, mostly for high schools, that have been produced across the U.S. and abroad.
Many of the princesses are unnamed but clearly evident from their costumes. Such favorites as Pocahontas and Jasmine lend a hand in the potboiler, but Snow White, portrayed by Kristen Harrington; Belle, by Tawnie Denys; Cinderella, by Bryce Allen; and the Little Mermaid, played by Ramonica Lomas, are the main protagonists. Also, Ellie, the Snow Queen (not to be confused with another popular heroine from a recent Disney animation), is involved, portrayed by Kayla Savory.
A few of the secondary actors play multiple parts, like Harrington, who gets killed off early as Snow White, and Yvette Reyes, who plays both an animated snowman and one of Cinderella’s guards. Theo Luu first appears as a Talking Candle, but meets his demise within moments of coming on stage, then returns later as a guard who is one of Cinderella’s henchmen.
Jacob Raper has the daunting task of being the Blood Packet Guy, whose job it is to strew about red tinsel representing blood on the bodies and scenery through the production, possibly representing a smirking Grim Reaper sort of fellow.
And the production had nearly as many students behind the scenes as on stage. From Assistant (Student) Director Sammy Garcia, who also portrayed Smeagol, stage hands, house manager, ushers, choreographer, and sound and light board operators.
Narrators 1 and 2, Cobie Alanis and Katie Larson, respectively, helped guide the audience through the story, providing footnotes, clarifications and explanations as needed.
Perhaps the two biggest back stage crews were Costuming and Makeup/Hair, as show business protocol demands you to keep princesses looking their best, after all.
To indicate its success, the production saw sold out theatres for the three nights, with seats added and standing room only on Saturday.