November 26th, 2010

“Three Fairy Godmothers”

Monday evening, November 22nd, we went to “Lincoln Center for the Arts”, which is an arts Middle School here in Milwaukee, to see a sixth grade play. This isn’t one of our normal venues, but the son of friends of ours, James Sullivan, was performing in a prominent role, and we had to see him act. We were very glad we went.

“Three Fairy Godmothers,” by Jerry L. Twedt, is a cute little play, running about an hour without intermission, that takes a fresh and humorous look at fairy-tale conventions without actually being a send-up.

The Godmothers of the title, Hortense (Maya Stites), Hoplandria (Andrea Delgado), and Hepsabah (Letre Whately), have reached “mandatory retirement age” and been forced to hand in their magic wands, despite one and all objecting that they haven’t really passed age 800. In order to convince “the Council” that they should still have their wands, they undertake to solve the nagging problem of Princess Dulcie, despite having no magic and their spotty memories of such things as potion craft to rely on.

The play opens revealing the Godmothers, footsore and hungry, trudging their way to the castle of Dulcie’s mother, the Queen (Anyia Griggs). They encounter a “common soldier” (James Sullivan) and try to get some of his food from him by trickery, but fail miserably. Instead, the soldier takes pity on the old women and shares his food with them. He reveals that he is really Prince Royal (A.K.A. “Roy”) who is on a mission to drive out the wicked witch Barabella (Belicia Vasquez). He is in disguise since the Queen has promised half her kingdom and Dulcie’s hand to anyone who will rid her kingdom of the witch. He agrees the witch has to go, but emphatically does NOT want the hand of Princess Dulcie, who is famously “mean”, and figures that she will refuse to marry a common soldier.

As the four trudge onward, we cut to the castle, where Princess Dulcie (Taylor Burt) has been having one of her “mean spells” and has driven away her last suitor by putting a crocodile into his bathtub, made her last two waiting women quit after pushing them into a fishpond, made the cook resign after dumping a bag of flower on her. When the Prime Minister (Myia Vales) also resigns after Dulcie deliberately drops a cannon ball on her foot, the Queen is at her wits’ end. Enter Barabella, who reminds the Queen that it is the eve of Dulcie’s nineteenth birthday, and, that by kingdom law, if he is not otherwise wed by the morrow, she is required to marry the son of the kingdom’s largest landowner—in this case, Barabella’s oafish son, Org (Yoel Martinez).

Royal and the Godmothers arrive to save the day, which happens only after fights, flights, captures and escapes, magical transformations, and the brewing of potions. There’s a lot of running, screaming, and shouting, as well, which puts the energy of the entertainers to good use.

All the young actors were very good, knew their lines, and made their cues. Particularly good were Maya Stites as Hortense, the leader of the Godmothers, who had good authority, Taylor Burt as Dulcie, who made her rather Jeykll/Hyde transformations when the “mean spells” were on her quite noticeable, and Myia Vales as the Prime Minister, who had a good vocabulary of subtle gestures. Belicia Vasquez was quite formidable as the witch, although she tended to have one primary vocal note. Yoel Martinez made Org a very likeable character, and it was clear his ignorance was due to parental neglect rather than incapacity. Our friend, James Sullivan, needs to work a bit more on vocal projection, but acted very well, and had a good repertoire of princely gestures and poses that gave him a strong stage presence, no mean feat when he is one of the youngest looking members of the cast.

While certainly not deathless theatre, the cast and the audience of largely family members had good fun with the show.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.


After Thanksgiving dinner, we went to the local cinema to catch "Megamind," the second movie of the year with a supervillian as protagonist, following summer's "Despicable Me." We were pleased to find that "Megamind" is equally good, and, in fact, quite charming in some ways.

"Megamind", voiced by Will Farrell, is a blue-skinned macrocephalic alien genius, rocketed to Earth as a baby to escape the destruction of his home planet (which was apparently sucked into a black hole). If this sounds familiar, even more famiiar is the origin of Megamind's nemesis, Metro Man (Brad Pitt), shot to Earth from a different dying planet at the same time. Metro Man lands among a wealthy family, who raise the orphan with every advantage. Megamind, on the other hand, crashes into the yard of a prison for incorrigibles. The convicts, improbably enough, manage to keep and raise the baby as a mascot, filling his hungry mind with their warped worldview. When Megamind eventually ends up at the same "school for the gifted" as Metro Man, a rivalry ensues that lasts into adulthood.

Megamind's life changes radically when one of his plots succeeds beyond his wildest dreams, taking Metro Man out of the picture and leaving Megamind as "Evil Overlord" of Metro City (which he pronounces "metrocity" to rhyme with "atrocity"). The movie is full of visual references, but the sequence of Megamind looting the city is especially rich. Not only does he sequester the Mona Lisa, his personal hoard includes the Ark of the Covenant, and what appear to be both Emmy and Oscar statuettes.

Megamind soon suffers from boredom, and begins work on recreating a new superhero to battle. While he's doing this he falls in love (while in disguise) with Lois-Lane-like reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey). She, no longer required as an object for Metro Man and Megamind to fight over, is engaged in researching how to overthrow Megamind.

Nevertheless, Megamind continues in his efforts to create a new Metro Man, and accidentally empowers Hal (Jonah Hill), Roxanne's camera man. Not only does Hal harbor a completely unrequited crush on Roxanne, he is a socially malajusted, lazy, selfish dweeb, who reacts to frustration with petulant physical violence. However, Megamind doesn't know this, and attempts to tutor "Titan" into superherodom, using yet another disguise, taking off Marlon Brando as Jor-El from the "Superman" films. Of course, as ill-begun as this project is, you know it's going to go bad, and does so with a vengance when goes over to the "dark side" and challenges Megamind for the woman, the city, and his life.

How it all works out is very good fun in super-comics fashion. Megamind as a supervillain is obsessed not only with beating the good guys, but doing it with style as well, and his Ming-the-Merciless capes, disguise gadget,adjustable ray-gun, invisible car, and giant war machines are all very cool. He's also loyally served by "Minion," (David Cross) an intelligent talking alien fish, who runs a "Robot Monster" styled cyber-ape body from his fishbowl, and has a horde of flying brain-drones at his command (more or less).

We really enjoyed this film, and,as with most films this year, didn't miss seeing it in 3D a bit.

OK for older children,although they might not get all the jokes or nuances. No sex, nudity, or foul language. Lots of cartoon violence*, but no blood. "Titan" could be quite scary for younger children when rampaging.

*In the partial destruction of Metro City, I was struck by the extent to which the imagery of the September 11th attacks has entered the visual vocabulary, even for "light" fare such as this. The depiction of shattered buidings and falling masonry are in part shaped by the video from that time, and the towers of black smoke looming over the distant city scape were chillingly familar.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.