The Secret in the Wings
A bunch of kids in a basement playing dress up. The Disney sucked out of the fairy tale. Dozen of worlds and one child’s imagination.
A playful and imaginative celebration of the power of stories. Scenes, songs, striking visuals, and dance collide to tell a series of lesser known fairy tales from a range of countries. All but one of the stories are split in half as the play fans in and then out again in a whirlwind of theatrical creativity. Nine performers, 75 costumes, and over 100 props bring to life the deep darkness and the powerful love that only fairy tales can contain.
Content Notes (sometimes called content warnings) are our opportunity to give you a heads-up about some of the things you will encounter in the production. We recognize that certain content could be triggering and that there are some days you might not want to deal with those things or might want to have a heads-up before you do.
If you prefer to be surprised by the content, feel free to skip this section. Engage with the play in whatever way you wish!
A digital version of this production will be available to view from April 28-30, 2021.
Ticket Price: $10.00.
For online viewing options for this production, please contact the U of A Studio Theatre Box Office via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone: 780-492-2495.
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Learn more in our
"Dig Deeper" section!
Click "Learn More" to see an interview with the director and our Fairy Tale Challenge!
What surprised you about the play?
What was a moment in the production that stood out to you, and why?
Do you have a favourite fairy tale? Why does it resonate with you?
"A dramaturg is a member of the artistic team of a theatre production who is a specialist in the transformation of a dramatic script into a meaningful living performance."
(5) Michael Mark Chemers, Ghost Light: An Introductory Handbook for Dramaturgy, Southern Illinois University Press, 2010.
About the Playwright
Mary Zimmerman is an American playwright/ adapter, theatre and opera director, and professor. She is the Jaharis Family Foundation Chair in Performance Studies at Northwestern University...
How She Creates
Mary Zimmerman isn’t your typical playwright. At least not in the sense of a solitary figure, labouring alone at her desk by candlelight in the hopes of producing a masterpiece manuscript...
The Secret in the Wings weaves together a variety of Fairy Tales, some well known and most not. Faithfulness to the original stories is not a priority for Zimmerman, who freely adapts, alters, and blends...
Fairy Tales and (Child?) Psychology
We often think of fairy tales as being for children. The original collection of The Brothers Grimm (from which several tales in The Secret in the Wings are drawn) was, however, not specifically intended for kids...
The Power of Telling Stories
The Secret in the Wings is performed by adults and is not a play intended for young audiences. It therefore invites us to consider what fairy tales might offer us as adults in the audience...
Dylan Maguire, one of the performers in The Secret in the Wings, has kept the creative team amused by making memes about the show. Like Zimmerman’s adaptation of fairy tales, these memes playfully combine references to create new and fun meanings. Once you’ve seen the show check out this selection to get a good laugh!
I first fell in love with this play for its hyper theatricality, imaginative weirdness and delightful playfulness. A deceptively complicated little show, Mary Zimmerman’s The Secret in the Wings weaves together a number of lesser-known fairy tales within the larger frame of a reimagined version of Beauty and the Beast. At its heart, the play reveals that love is kindness, and that compassion and generosity towards the other is what allows us to heal one another and ourselves. In the published version of the script Zimmerman opens with a Rainer Maria Rilke quote that says: “Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love”.
Much of the play and production centres on transformation: transformation of self, transformation of place, time and objects and transformation of perception and expectations. The play eschews a “Disneyfied” view of fairy tales where romantic love, beauty and wealth are the “happily ever after” and instead focuses on the importance of familial bonds and benevolence towards the other. All of the tragedies in the play are resolved through the simple acts of offering an orange and an embrace of what is frightening. A year into a pandemic that has separated and isolated us from the secure bonds we rely on, the message of empathy towards the other and the necessity of connection with those we love rings even more powerfully true than it did when I first read this play in March 2020.
This show is based entirely in ensemble work and much of what you see on stage was created by the company during rehearsals. We have endeavoured to work in a manner that celebrates the play’s message of respect, kindness and collaboration and we hope you enjoy watching it as much as we have enjoyed creating it. Thank you so much to everyone who has worked so hard to make this magical little production a reality in these times, including you, our audience. We couldn’t do it without you.
Queen 3, Snake Leaves Princess, Allerleira, Ensemble — Lauren Brady
Queen 2, Princess Who Won't Laugh, Daughter, Elizabeth, Ensemble — Elizabeth Chamberlain
Prince 1, Suitor 1, Snake Leaves Boy, Ensemble — Max Hanic
Prince 2, Suitor 2, Snake Leaves King, Ensemble — Thomas Kassian
Father, Ambassador, Father of Princess Who Won't Laugh, Ensemble — Dylan Maguire
Queen 1, Mother, Companion, Ensemble — Jenny McKillop*
Michelle, Stolen Pennies Child, Nursemaid, Ensemble — Michelle Robb
Mr. Ross, Father of Seven Swans — Garett Ross*
Prince 3, Suitor 3, Father/King in Allerleira, Ensemble — Zachary Strom
Understudies — Ryan Blair, Mackenzie Paterson
Director — Elizabeth Hobbs
Set, Costume, and Lighting Designer — Camille Paris
Composer — Stephanie Urquhart
Sound Designer — Anthony Hunchak
Assistant Costume Designer — Lieke den Bakker
Assistant Lighting Designer — Feng Yi Jiang
Production Dramaturg — Charlie Peters
Voice Coach — Michael Kaplan
Singing Coach — Sherry Steele
Movement Coach — Lin Snelling
Magic Consultant — Jay Chun
Stage Manager — Galen Hite
Assistant Stage Managers — Frances Bundy, Patton Wei
Directing Advisor — Melanie Dreyer-Lude
Design Advisor — Guido Tondino
Dramaturgy Advisor — Jan Selman
Stage Management —John Raymond
Scenic Art Advisor — Cindi Zuby
Lighting Operator — Shella Novakovic-Apostol
Sound Operator — Kai Yakichuk
Stage Crew — Dylan MacKay
SPECIAL THANKS TO
Production Manager — Gerry van Hezewyk
Technical Director — Larry Clark
Assistant Technical Director — Kenzie Bowes
Wardrobe Manager — Joanna Johnston
Cutter — Julie Davie
Milliner / Stitcher — Karen Kucher
Master Carpenter — Darrell Cooksey
Scenic Carpenter — Barbara Hagensen
Lead Scenic Artist — Rory Turner
Scenic Artists — Julian Anderson, Amy Dass, Curtis Gauthier, Stuart Lindsay, Kade Mazury, Isabelle Martinez, Ian McClellan, Skylar Velthuis, Caleb Willis
Properties Master — Jane Kline
Properties Assistants — Tiffany Martineau
Lighting Supervisors — Jeff Osterlin, Mel Geary
Lighting Technicians — Amy Dass, Curtis Gauthier, Kade Mazury, Ian McClellan, Skylar Veltuis
Sound Supervisor — Matthew Skopyk
Department Chair/Artistic Director — Melanie Dreyer-Lude
Administrative Chair — Julie Brown
Theatre Administrator — David Prestley
Box Office Coordinator — Candice Stollery
Office Coordinator/Admin Assistant — Helen Baggaley
Marketing and Communications — Erik Einsiedel
* The participation of these Artists is arranged by permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance•Opera•Theatre Policy.