A new take on the 3 Little Pigs in Breckenridge
That’s right – forget the wolf, the turkey buzzard is the real evil behind the plot to consume three mischievous truffle-hunters in Edith Weiss’ colorful and energetic adaptation of “The 3 Little Pigs,” which premieres today at the Backstage Children’s Theatre in Breckenridge.Rather than the ravenous pork-hungry villain of the original, the wolf, Rolfie (Skip Wee), is instead a patsy for Buzz the Turkey Buzzard (Christopher Willard), who attempts to convince the outcast to prove himself to his ex-wolf-pack by transforming into the Biggity Bad Wolf and ensnaring Higgelty, Piggelty, and Hamlet. Little does Rolfie know, however, that Buzz has other plans for the piglets. “Pork-fat smoothies, wouldn’t that be good?” the villainous buzzard muses hysterically as he plots his evil deed, only to be continually disappointed by the non-confrontational wolf’s failed attempts at being bad. (“Cute is not in a biggety bad’s vocabulary!” he scolds Rolfie when the wolf coos happily upon discovering the slumbering pigs in their newly built house.) Rachel Graham stars as Piggelty – “the brat,” as Graham called her – though her expressive performance can be described as none other than cheek-pinchingly cute. Higgelty (Breck’s Genevieve Price) is the self-professed leader of the pig trio, and newcomer Hamlet (Jim Miller) is the voice of reason, which he delivers in modified Shakespearean verse much to the chagrin of his sty-mates. “I don’t like talking down to kids so I have a lot of Shakespeare,” explained writer/director Weiss, with lines drawn from “King Lear,” “Hamlet,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “The Merchant of Venice” meant to appeal also to adult viewers. Instead of “the milk of human kindness,” however, it’s “the milk of porcine kindness.” Anthropomorphism does due diligence teaching kids a few lessons in this world premiere show – to resist piggy idleness, lie-telling, and wolf pack peer pressure, for example. “The other message is to embrace ‘the different,'” Weiss added regarding the pigs’ treatment of Hamlet. “Although he’s speaking the best English ever written, they don’t understand that.” Artistic director Chris Willard, who plays Maggie the Farmer in addition to Buzz the Buzzard, came up with the idea and commissioned Weiss, the acclaimed writer of prior Backstage shows, “Hyronomous A. Frog: The Frog Prince” and “Two Dumb Dogs,” to write it. “I was looking for a play with a name so kids would recognize it,” Willards said. “Funneled through Edith’s screwball sensibilities (I knew) it would take on a life of its own.”Moral messages aside, “The 3 Little Pigs” is a fast-paced and humorous romp around the stage from start to finish. With choreography by Whitney Litsey, music by The Arvada Center’s Keith Ewer, new takes on old-time American classic songs, and both gangsta and Shakespearean rap, this “play with music” is certain to delight the entire family.
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