Once Upon A Mattress takes the stage
March 30, 2023
The Falcon Players put on their spring musical with Once Upon a Mattress, a comedic adaptation of the classic fairytale The Princess and the Pea on March 9-11.
The musical opens with “Many Moons Ago,” where the minstrel (senior Alex Kluempers) sings about how the classic tale of Princess and the Pea that the public knows is inaccurate, because he was there when the true tale happened. It then transitions into the true story, showing a medieval kingdom where the people are diligently searching for a princess for Prince Dauntless (freshman Jackson Schertzer) to marry, as no one can marry until he does. However, his mother, Queen Aggravain (freshman Alyssa Maserang), staunchly opposes the idea of his marriage, and works with the Wizard (senior Elena Quinn) to create unique tests to measure whether or not the princesses are truly worthy of Prince Dauntless. However, they ensure that the tests are completely impossible, resulting in the dismissal of the twelfth princess that has attempted to win Dauntless’s hand. Aggravain rules over the kingdom with an iron fist, as her husband, King Sextimus (sophomore Finnley Free) cannot talk as a result of a curse that can only be broken when “the mouse devours the hawk.”
As for the other individuals in the kingdom, many are struggling due to the lack of a princess as well. After finding out his girlfriend Lady Larken (sophomore Audrey Schammel) is pregnant, the knight Sir Harry (sophomore Michael Stimpson) sets off to find another princess, and stumbles upon Princess Winnifred (senior Mira Iyer), a bold and atypical princess from the marshlands who goes against the kingdom’s expectations. Iyer’s expressive portrayal of Winnifred is a highlight of the show. Her earnest embodiment allows the audience to root for her throughout the entirety of the show. Both the Kingdom and Dauntless are charmed by her and think she will be the one, but the Queen is determined to get rid of her. Dauntless and Winnifred’s characters are polar opposites, and Schertzer and Iyer play on these differences to create an endearing dynamic that drives the story. While the antics of the King, Minstrel, and Jester (sophomore Oliver Stratton) create a unique dynamic and humor that shines through in “The Minstrel, the Jester, and I,” the musical truly shines when Iyer and Schertzer are at the center. The first act finishes with “Song of Love,” where the ensemble cheers Winnifred on as she shows off her variety of talents by singing, dancing and drinking while Dauntless confesses his love for her. The ensemble shines through, providing infectious energy to the number. In the second act, the Queen places a pea under forty mattresses to test Winnifred’s sensitivity, a test she passes, proving she is a real princess. Winnifred’s rendition of “Happily Ever After” was executed beautifully, as Iyer’s honesty about her insecurities of feeling alone and unlike an ordinary princess adds depth to the character.
Once Upon a Mattress is certainly a unique adaptation of the classic tale. Although not all of the comedy registers, the musical is still a lighthearted and enjoyable experience.