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Local Playwrights Revive Brothers Grimm

BU’s Diamond and Lopez offer their take on dark fairy tales


John Kuntz’s (GRS’05) Red is a racy take on Little Red Riding Hood. Photo courtesy of Company One

Last year, Boston’s Company One artistic director Shawn LaCount decided he want to end the company’s 11th season with some exclamation points.

“I’ve always been interested in fairytales and dark stories for children,” LaCount says. “I thought, what if we could get the best playwrights in Boston to each write a one-act play based on their favorite Brothers Grimm tale, but with a Company One twist? I spent forever trying to conceive the perfect plan that would convince at least a few of these writers to sign on. Finally, I just decided to flat-out ask.”

They all agreed. The result is GRIMM, a collection of new works inspired by the sometimes-disturbing folk and fairy tales popularized in the first half of the 1800s by Jakob Ludwig Karl and Wilhelm Karl Grimm. The German siblings immortalized the stories of Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Hansel and Gretel, among others.

GRIMM features contributions by BU faculty Melinda Lopez (GRS’ 00) (Sonia Flew, Gary), an instructor in the Creative Writing Program, and Lydia R. Diamond (GRS’09) (Stick Fly, Voyeurs de Venus), a College of Fine Arts assistant professor of playwriting and theatre arts; John Kuntz (GRS’05) (The Salt Girl); Kirsten Greenidge (The Luck of the Irish), Marcus Gardley (Dance of the Holy Ghosts); and John ADEkoje (6 Rounds/6 Lessons). Last week, the New York Times sniffed out the participation of Boston-based writer Gregory Maguire, whose novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West spawned the Broadway hit musical Wicked.

“Each playwright took a very different path in working with their individual story,” LaCount says. “Some of the one-act plays remain very faithful to the original Brothers Grimm stories. Melinda Lopez’s take on ‘Stories About Snakes’ is basically a staging of the story infused with music and stylized movement. Based very loosely on ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ John Kuntz’s Red is an erotic take on power, storytelling, and sex. Marcus Gardley’s Half Handsome and Regrettable follows the characters of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ into very new territory.”

GRIMM runs through Aug. 14 at the Roberts Theatre in the Calderwood Pavilion at 527 Tremont St., Boston. Tickets are available by phone: 617.933.8600, online at BostonTheatreScene.com, or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts or at the Boston University Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston.

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at cdanilof@bu.edu.

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