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Twisted Tales

Cinderella isn’t the “goodie, goodie” you think she is, according to a tell-all book written by her stepmother and stepsisters. Rather than wicked, stepmother looks like she stepped out of the television series, “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” in her gold lamé jacket, decked head-to-toe in heavy gold jewelry, oversized sunglasses, and hair teased out as far as it could possibly stretch. The three little pigs - Jimmy, Dean, and Sausage - are adorable in pink, but not adorable enough for Mama to put up with their constant mooching.

Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are in competition, vying for the attention of handsome Prince Charming. When asked how he feels about two beautiful princesses fighting over his affections, Prince Charming merely shrugged his shoulders, but director Sarah Perrson teases, “he loves it.”

Twenty-two children, ages 7-18 have been busy practicing during a three-week intensive summer workshop, directed by Persson and Jennifer Varner, at the Golden Chain Theatre. All their hard work will culminate in a final performance, 6:30 p.m., Saturday, July 25.

A fast-paced production, The FairyTale Network, is written by John Woodward and comprises a compilation of traditional fairy tales, with non-traditional, twisted outcomes.

The story begins when a television network experiences low ratings, and the new CEO (a cat) calls in the four blind mice as consultants for turning the network around. One of these mice is Makayla Jeffris, 11. While not her first time on stage, it is her first appearance with Golden Chain.

“I was the grandmother in Little Red Riding Hood with the Community Dance and Theater in Coarsegold,” Jeffris said. “And now I’m here. Someday, I hope to perform on Broadway.”

“Most of these kids haven’t been in shows before,” Perrson said. “So this is new to them. They have all been working so hard. They have their lines memorized. They have their dance moves down. And they also have been learning what goes on behind the scenes, creating set pieces out of foam ... they will bring these props on stage ... just like adult actors do.”

This is the first year GCT has offered summer camp, spearheaded by Perrson.

“So much of the arts are removed at the schools,” she continued. “My daughter, Amber, got involved in theater seven years ago, and I had to search and search ... there just weren’t a lot of programs out there for her. Over the years, I’ve seen all the kids who come to our shows, who talk to our actors, and say they want to be a in show, too. I thought it was a shame that we had this theater here, but no children’s program.”

Originally, the camp was geared for 14 attendees, but because of the overwhelming response, Perrson capped it at 22. To ensure everyone had a speaking part, the script was then expanded and additional parts were written.

“Performing builds character, confidence and self-esteem,” Perrson continued. “Families can watch their child on stage, kids can take pride in what they’ve done, and it’s something the community can come out and enjoy.”

The students were excited about this Saturday’s performance before family and friends. Wearing an ear-to-ear grin, stepmother, Elsa Smock, 10, gave the entire experience a huge “thumbs-up.”

Recital: a second GCT workshop, run by Jennifer Piccolotti, began July 6, and runs through Aug. 3. This workshop is geared towards children, ages 7-16, who have shown a love for dramatic theater. Each child has been assigned a scene or monologue from classics like “The Diary of Anne Frank.” A recital-type evening, will be held 7 p.m., Aug. 7, with a coffee and dessert reception.

Ticket prices for each performance are $8 for adults, and $5 for children.

Details: (559) 683-7112.

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