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Wordplay fuels fun in Greensburg Civic Theatre’s Greasepaint Players’ fairytale spoof |
Theater & Arts

Wordplay fuels fun in Greensburg Civic Theatre’s Greasepaint Players’ fairytale spoof

Tom Fontaine
| Tuesday, March 17, 2015 9:00 p.m
Greensburg Civic Theatre
Ciara Giran as Gretel, Sarah Peters as Marta, John Paul Ritchey as Wilhelm and Jared Peters as Hansel in Greensburg Civic Theatre's 'The (Almost) Totally True Story of Hansel and Gretel​.' The play will be presented 7:30 p.m. March 20; 1 and 4 p.m. March 21. Admission: $8, $6 in advance. Location is the Greensburg Garden & Civic Center, 951 Old Salem Road. Details: 724-836-8000 or

Some of the characters in Greensburg Civic Theatre’s Greasepaint Players’ production of Steph DeFerie’s fantasy spoof, “The (Almost) Totally True Story of Hansel and Gretel,” seem to have dropped in from another play.

What are Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears doing in this adaptation of the classic children’s fairy tale? According to director Katya Shaffer of Jeannette, they’re all part of a journey through fairy tale land that will keep young audiences laughing from beginning to end.

“You still see the Hansel and Gretel you already know — just from a new perspective,” Shaffer says.

Mike Crosby of Greensburg, who portrays Inspector Wombat, an English policeman, says this version of “Hansel and Gretel” “is like Fractured Fairy Tales, in that it has all the familiar fairy tale characters you love, but everything goes completely wrong, and the audience gets to enjoy all of the madness.”

He says the fun begins when Hansel and Gretel “start ripping through the stories we are all familiar with, manipulating the characters and changing the outcomes of their individual stories. We come to find out that Hansel and Gretel are not the innocent children we’ve been led to believe.”

The script is peppered with modern humor, such as in a scene where Gretel tells Prince Charming the reason why Cinderella left the ball was because “she’s just not that into you.”

Crosby is modeling his interpretation of his character after English actor and comedian John Cleese.

“I love his delivery and portrayal in ‘Monty Python’ and I’ve tried to deliver the same thing when playing the inspector,” he says. “Wombat is all business, but also has a light and friendly way about him. He, sometimes, gets too serious and wrapped up in his job, but he is brought back down to earth by his partner, Sgt. Ringworm.”

Rachel Painter of Greensburg portrays Streptococcus, who tries very hard to be a traditional fairy godmother but doesn’t do well under pressure.

“She’s a diva who hates when things don’t go her way,” Painter says. “I think my biggest challenge is trying to find a balance between sweet and sour.”

Painter, a member of the children’s programming committee at the theater, says she fell in love with the script when the committee was choosing plays for the season.

“The wordplay is great, and it’s a different take on a bunch of classic fairy tales. I knew I wanted to be a part of it as soon as I read it,” she says.

The cast also includes: Ciara Giran of North Huntingdon; Jared Peters, Sarah Peters, Olivia Laubham and Nick Shermeto of Harrison City; Cameron Swartz of Delmont; Tania Kinsel, Kyra Heberle and Skye Lanham of Murrysville; Malena Bendik and John Paul Ritchey of Greensburg; Krista Wolfhope, Emma Bender, Amelia Bender and Grace Bender of Jeannette; Megan Datsko of Latrobe; and Grace Elizabeth Vensel of Wheeling. Megan Datsko of Latrobe is stage manager.

Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Tom at 412-320-7847, or via Twitter .

Categories: Theater Arts
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