When a girl wakes up alone in the forest, she has no memory of her past.
She can’t remember where she’s from, how she got there or her own name. She embarks on a journey to recall her past and along the way meets several fairy tale characters — Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella and Rapunzel, to name a few.
Some are helpful and some dangerous, yet all have information that intertwines and helps the girl recall her own story, eventually revealing her true identity as a princess.
With fun new takes on the stories everyone loves, the princess’ quest to remember her true identity will keep the audience guessing to the happily ever after ending.
“The Princess Who Had No Name” will be presented by Jackson County Young Artists’ Theatre the next two weekends at Royal Off-the-Square Theatre, 121 W. Walnut St., Brownstown.
Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. July 23 and 24.
There are 36 kids ages 6 to 18 cast in the show, including one playing two roles.
Director Katie Rohlfing said she picked this show for JCYAT last year before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the theater’s season was canceled. Then it was put on this year’s calendar.
“It was perfect because we needed something to bring us back to theater, to entertain and to just bring smiles to people’s faces. I think this show does that,” she said. “Plus, the mix of fairy tale, it’s great for our teens because it’s different in that they can add more to it and for youth so they know the characters that they are playing.”
Isabel Rodriguez, 17, a senior at Jennings County High School, was cast as the princess.
“I auditioned for all of the girl characters. I was not expecting to get the princess,” she said. “I kind of figured it would be Rapunzel or something else like that, but I do definitely like to pretend that I don’t know what I’m doing, pretend that I have lost my mind. I do like my character a lot. She’s all kinds of crazy and messed up in the head.”
Landon Whitson, 15, a sophomore at Brownstown Central High School, said he was asked to audition for the role of Rumpelstiltskin.
“Katie was like, ‘This character is kind of like a split personality, kind of like Gollum from ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ and I’m like, ‘That is actually something I would really like to do to challenge myself,'” he said. “It has been so fun switching between the voices.”
Having been in shows with Rohlfing in the past, Morgan Henry said he was willing to play any role. The 18-year-old 2021 graduate of Jennings County High School wound up cast as Prince Reveille, who inadvertently rescues and wins the hearts of the wrong princesses in the show.
He said it’s his first time playing a romantic lead.
“She was like, ‘OK, you’re going to get a part that you’ve never played,'” Henry said. “She was like, ‘I’m going to push you really hard,’ and I was ‘OK, I’m ready, I guess.”
All three have adapted well to their characters.
“I think what I like most about it is the freedom we get with our characters,” Whitson said. “I had so much freedom to do whatever I wanted with my character. I brought it up to Katie first just to check, but it’s just I got to do so much. I got to make so much of my character my own way, and that’s something I don’t usually do as much because all of the characters I’ve ever played were written specific ways.”
“My character does not know who she is, so I can kind of play off of her confusion and put that together in my own character while keeping kind of a confused female,” she said.
Henry’s character is more defined in the show.
“I’m not rigidly there, but I still had some freedom,” he said. “Compared to shows we’ve done in the past, I feel like the plot is a lot better. It can be enjoyed by both adults and young children.”
Since she first began working with the young actors, Rohlfing said she has seen a lot of growth.
“Even before the show, they are just going to keep growing and growing and growing and getting better,” she said. “It’s always great to see, especially those really shy ones that end up coming out of their shells during the shows, making friends, getting onstage and just being bright and out there. It’s just so great to see their growth throughout the process, not just as actors but as humans in general.”
Her excitement builds as showtime approaches.
“I’m just excited to see all of their happy faces and all of their hard work pay off,” Rohlfing said. “As long as they are having fun and they are enjoying being up there, that’s all that matters to me.”
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What: Jackson County Young Artists’ Theatre’s production of “The Princess Who Had No Name”
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. July 23 and 24
Where: Royal Off-the-Square Theatre, 121 W. Walnut St., Brownstown
Who: 36 kids ages 6 to 18
Cost: $9 (order online at tktassist.com/Tix/?u=JCCT)
Director: Katie Rohlfing
Assistant director: Steve Deweese
Production manager: Karen Haas
Cast: Kelly Beavers, Addison Bumbleburg, Brynn Burton, Bella Campbell, Jack Charlton, Lilly Charlton, Janie Deweese, Olivia Deweese, Elin Dick, Sullivan Dick, Jenna Downs, Alyssa Haas, Derek Haas, Morgan Henry, Alana Jacobi, Destiny Long, Isabel McGill, Benjamin Neawedde, Daniel Neawedde, Jonathan Neawedde, Vivian Newby, Elise Olsen, Addie Otte, Isabel Perez, Coltlynn Ray, Karcynn Ray, Isabel Rodriguez, Max Rodriguez, Evan Rohlfing, Myra Schepman, Holten Trimble, Landon Whitson, Genevieve Wilson, Viviana Wilson, Parker Windley and Trinity Wright