ARLINGTON – Hear ye, lords and ladies, the Arlington High School Drama department invites you to enjoy their performance of the medieval comedy musical “Once Upon a Mattress.”
Performances are March 6-7 and March 13-14 at 7 p.m. at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center at AHS, with a matinee showing also planned for 1 p.m. March 14. Tickets are $8 for senior citizens and students, and $10 for other adults.
The Broadway musical is an outrageously zany retelling of the classic fairy tale “Princess and the Pea.”
The comedy is set in a fictional 15th Century medieval kingdom.
The plot revolves around the ultimate helicopter mom, Queen Aggravain, played to control-freak greatness by Erin Hester, who sets up tests for royal damsels to marry her son, Prince Dauntless, played by Alec Villa, then puts the women in their place as unfit-to-wed princess brides.
Complicating matters, the queen decrees that no one else in the kingdom can marry until her mama’s boy son does first, which proves tricky for a pregnant Lady Larkin and her Sir Harry.
However, when one inconceivable, graceless bachelorette, Princess Winnifred, played by Bella Fryberg, arrives from the swamps to take the queen’s test, it’s love at first sight for the prince, and all sorts of hijinks ensue thanks to a little help from the king and his jester.
The cast in general displays many of the quirks and eccentricities familiar to fairy tale followers that add extra color to the storytelling.
The cast and crew rehearsed for four months. They promise a high-energy entertaining and fun experience.
“It’s really like bright and fun, and it’s hilarious,” Fryberg said, who is a choir member and used to acting and dancing in previous productions. “Expect to see a comedy show.”
Villa added, “Bouncing off of that, it’s like organized chaos. It may seem crazy at times, but it all wraps up in the end.”
Bringing the show to life meant a lot of time bringing together the acting, singing and dancing. Villa said this is the first play where he had stunts to do that caused a few bruises, but nothing to warrant a visit to the school nurse.
“This is a musical that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats,” director Scott Moberly said. “Using both comedy and action, the diverse case of students keeps the audience entertained for the duration of the play.”