Opening Sept. 26, Pearce Auditorium at Brenau University will rumble with the roars of dragons and the excitement of thousands of school children and families as the Gainesville Theatre Alliance presents WonderQuest’s 83rd production, Sleeping Beauty, written and directed by Brenau Assistant Professor of Theatre and WonderQuest Director Gay H. Hammond. The play runs weekends, Sep.26 – Oct.4. Tickets to family performances are $7-12. Find details and select seats at www.gainesvilleTHEATREalliance.org or by calling the box office at 678-717-3624. Find out about special rates for Brenau students, faculty and staff by calling for tickets.
“I appreciate that she’s tough, demanding hard work from the cast and crew and doesn’t put up with laziness. However, in addition to her high expectations, Gay has a way of painting the world of the play around us as she directs.” explains Jackie Mileson, Brenau University senior who has appeared in numerous GTA productions.
Seen last season as Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and Charlotte Palmer in Sense and Sensibility, Mileson returns this year as the evil fairy Nightshade bent on Princess Dawn Blossom’s demise.
Beginning with the classic tale by the Grimm Brothers, the WonderQuest creative team reimagined the story with an Asian twist. According Hammond, she was inspired by “the tulip trees [on Brenau’s campus] in full bloom, and dropping their bright pink blossoms in the wind—I thought, ‘wow, this is what cherry blossoms would look like on a larger scale’…and the central image of the Cherry Tree made me think of Asian folklore.”
Another exciting element in this production is the presence of the dragon masters. Not only do they control a 30-foot long dragon; they also narrate the tale through poetic language and physical flourishes. Audiences will witness a mix of martial arts, dance, formalized gestures and stunts.
“The dragon is scary,” admitted Hammond. “He is also beautiful, fantastic and thoroughly thrilling. But… he is also big and scary.”