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Story: Set “Once Upon a Time, in a Far-Off Kingdom,” a cluster of fairy tale characters profess their hopes and desires as relayed by a genial narrator. There’s Jack, whose mother wants him to sell his beloved but dry cow, Milky White, while she still commands a reasonable price. Cinderella, a lowly maid put upon by her demanding stepmother and imperious stepsisters, dreams of attending the royal ball at the prince’s palace. Little Red Riding Hood is eagerly looking forward to a visit to her grandmother’s house in the woods, while a baker and his wife lament they have no children.
Story: Leon Tolchinksky arrives in Kulyenchikov with his luggage and a heart full of optimism. He is the new teacher in the tiny hamlet located somewhere in Ukraine, circa late 19th century. His fervor begins to erode, though, when he meets the people of Kulyenchikov. They seem pleasant enough, but unfortunately they make no sense at all. In fact, they sound uniformly foolish and stupid.
The year 2012 was tumultuous in many respects, so perhaps fittingly Wicked is the title of the production that brings down the curtain on the last 12 months. A record drought plagued the St. Louis area, temperatures sweltered in an elongated summer and the area’s economy staggered toward a slow but steady recovery. All of this took place in the face of impending doom predicted centuries ago by the Mayan calendar.
Story: The Great Depression has millions of Americans out of work. Even most of those who are employed live hard lives, including the denizens of Zion, Indiana, where farmer Basil Bennett relies on the ability of neighbor Buddy Layman to find much-needed water for his crops with the aid of a ‘divining’ stick. Despite the skepticism of Basil’s wife Luella, the young man does indeed have a penchant for locating moisture in the ground.
Story: It’s final rehearsal night for a sex comedy titled Nothing On, which (fictional) playwright Robin Housemonger has set in a 16th century English mill that’s available for rent. The touring company that’s about to present this show at the Grand Theatre in Weston-super-Mare, England is still missing cues, dropping lines and questioning motivation in their characters, all of which exasperates Lloyd, the director.