Rock Fairytale Show Saturday

Fion Chen as Miss Soursheen in the IM production Friday & Saturday

“What Ever Happened to Limpy Glen?” a rock fairytale presented by the Interdisciplinary Arts (IM) students at Idyllwild Arts, opened on Friday, April 30, to a sold-out crowd at the Bowman Theater. With this ambitious production, the IM students have shown that they not only can create their own sets and costumes, but also sing, act, dance and play their own music. The two-run show continues tonight, Saturday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Frykdahl and Rocuant share secrets in the IM production

The show is based on “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” a legend about the disappearance of a great many children from the German town of¬†Hamelin. A piper, or rat catcher, was hired by the mayor to lure the rats away with his magic flute. However, when the mayor refuses to pay, the piper retaliates by luring away the children.

“Whatever Happened to Limpy Glen?” is set in Hamelin many years later. The small amount of children who are left are not allowed to play or sing music. As orphans, they’ve been turned into working droids.

Like his name implies, Limpy Glen (played by Rami Rocuant), the third-generation mayor of Hamelin, is a “wimp.” He oversees the town in his top hat and tails, receiving official notices, but isn’t really a leader or formidable force. The children do not obey because of him.

Town kids tow the line with Miss Soursheen

The real muscle is Miss Soursheen, played by Fion Chen. She is the “Cruella DaVille” that oversees the children’s chores, and reprimands them by clunking them on the head with a large chicken bone. (Actually, it looks more like a beef or ham bone because it doesn’t break).

Miss Soursheen, dressed in her Dominatrix attire, not only rules the children with a chicken bone, but the mayor too, with other knives as well. In the beginning, when she’s giving a progress report to the mayor, she’s also cooking soup for them. To emphasize her point, she points a large meat cleaver at him. Naturally, he backs away, and we know who rules. Later on in the show, Soursheen wields other weapons at the children from broomsticks to swords, and finally large spears.

IM shows Chen out of control

If they were going for dark humor, they achieved it. However, all the brutality and knife wielding was a distraction. It’s a Grimm’s Fairy Tale come to life. Let the punishment fit the crime, I say. They also didn’t explain or hint at why Miss Soursheen was so cruel. Perhaps she was tortured by a wicked witch as a lassie?

Not only does she beat her own kids, but the wild kids as well. Three wild kids, played by Caleigh Birrell, Jose Angel Diaz and Shelagh Bennett, have been wandering around the mountains for years, camping and singing songs. When they wander back into Hamelin, they don’t recognize the place at first. All the music is gone, including the record stores. There is no more fun. All the life is gone.

Bennett, Diaz and Birrell as the wild kids

Naturally, the town kids are attracted to the wild kid’s freedom, dancing and music. The town kids are played by Kumi Sweely, Luna Enriquez, Zenya Kwan, Liana Spano, Evynne Murray, Alyx Gunderson, Jahaira Anaya and Damian Hur.

As expected, three of the town kids run away to join the wild ones, including Zenya Kwan as Zelda, Luna Enriquez as Vega and Kumi Sweely as Rosa. Since they have to walk through the mountains and may encounter anything, they wield swords. To portray the denseness and confusion of the mountains, a large screen TV showed slides of large trees and video of blinding lights. Any more these days, stage plays are using video screens to help with background or scene changes.

Back in town, Mayor Wimpy Glen cannot sleep. He has several “encounters” with a vagrant, played by Nils Frykdahl, who offers him an ear, but always asks for money in the end. He’s the perfect “Beetlejuice” character with his blackened teeth, wild eyes and raspy voice. They discuss the mayor’s past, his animated turtle and finally make sense of the piper tale. (Frykdahl also doubles as bandleader, playing the electric guitar and flutes. If he is not on the IM staff yet, someone should hire him right away.)

Rocuant as mayor contemplates lifting music ban

Not only does the production’s band play all the songs, but the sound effects as well. It’s a motley crew of instruments, but fitting to the fairy tale. Led by Frykdahl, the band includes Denise Boughey, IM chair, on bass; Dawn McCarthy on electric guitar and percussion; Nate Levenson on drums; Rachel Hill on French horn; XO Liu on cello; Luna Enriquez, Caleigh BIrrell and Shelagh Bennett on guitar; Fion Chen and Liana Spano on keyboards and Rami Rocuant on banjo and guitar.

Needless to say, the production’s band is mostly made up of IM and music students. Each of the students in “Wimpy Glen” wears many hats, from playing a dramatic role, playing or singing music, building sets or illustrating the playbill.

For example, Fion Chen plays the lead as Miss Soursheen, something that would take a great deal of time. But she also helped with adapting the story, and playing keyboards in the band. Liana Spano, who plays one of the town kids, also plays keyboards, and helped to run the video throughout the show. Caleigh Birrell, who is studying painting in New York in the fall, acted, sang, danced and played guitar in the show. Luna Enriquez, who also does art, illustrated the portraits on the playbill and poster. But she also played one of the leads, sang, danced and played guitar.

Luna Enriquez played a town kid and illustrated the playbill & poster

“That is the beauty of being in the IM department,” said one of them. “We get to try many different things.”

Behind-the-scenes IM students helped out with set building, costumes, lights and sound. They included Trevor Holmes, Kaylee Greene-Spates, and Arik Dutcher. Alejandro Barron, from the jazz department, was the stage hand.

“Whatever Happened to Wimpy Glen?” continues tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Bowman Theater on campus. The show is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Idyllwild Arts web site at www.idyllwildarts.org.


the attachments to this post:


IM Poster


IM Sword Action


IM Rami banjo


IM 3 Wild singing


Fion & Rami


IM Fion & kids


IM Rami BD & vagrant


IM Fion singing & Kids


IM 3 Wild singing


IM Group Meal