Q&A with "Snow Queen" director Judy Smith

How did you become involved in theatre in Cottage Grove?

 I own the Storybook Theatre it’s independent of Opal Center but I rent the space. Originally, I directed shows at Cottage Theatre in the past and my kids went to school at Ace Charter School and there was a need there for some theatre instruction so I volunteered and it went over so well it turned into a business. At first it was a drama club and then because Storybook Theatre nine years ago.

I attempt to do three shows a year and this is the winter show. It’s more advanced, more detailed. Two years ago, I did “Little Women” which was just huge and lovely. I chose the “Snow Queen” because almost all of the shows I do, I take from the public domain and adapt the script because it started out as, I couldn’t afford royalties for the original scripts and ever since I’ve been adapting from the public domain. I always choose something that inspires me.


What was your inspiration for “Snow Queen?”


With “Snow Queen” I was talking to a four-year-old girl--and I always ask the kids what we should do next--and she said “Frozen” and I laughed because I know it’s such a popular story with little ones these days. But with Storybook, I want to teach children literature as well as theatre so I research as far back as I can and often the real story is much more dark than kids realize today. So, when this little girl said “Frozen,” it got me thinking, “Frozen” is so popular, I should let kids know the real story which is different than today’s.


What is the basic story of “Snow Queen?”


There’s a lot of symbolism in the whole story and it’s about friendship and goodness overcoming evil and it’s a beautiful message to teach the kids. It starts out with portraying the devil and humans but in different versions they call it different things--it could be an evil fairy, devil and demons is a little harsh. It’s a devil that’s created a looking glass and anyone who looks into this mirror only sees the negativity and evil in the world and the beauty vanishes. He orders his minions to spread this over the world and in their struggle, it breaks into a million pieces and he’s even more excited because now it can be spread further across the world. A little boy and girl are on a rooftop and the boy gets a piece of the glass in his eye and his heart and turns into a rude little boy, completely against his character and is kidnapped by the Snow Queen. The story is the journey of the little girl and her kind heart and everything she gives up to find and save this little boy.


What should audiences look out for in the production?


There are 22 kids in the show ages 10 to 19 and it is darker than you would typically expect so make sure your kids can handle that. There’s also some fog effect and strobing lights it doesn’t last very long at all and isn’t very extreme.


The “Snow Queen” is playing this Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Opal Arts Center. For more information, visit opalcenter.org.



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