Once Upon A Mattress is a perfect example of legendary folklore. Characters that we depict from storybook fairytales come to life, as actors that marvelously portray kings, queens, and knights turn folklore into reality. Once Upon A Mattress is a dark comedy that enchants its audience with humor, controversies, as well as evil and manipulation. Such elements is what makes our imagination of fairytales of kings and queens come true; that ever so plagued us since our childhood years.
Once Upon A Mattress begins with young Prince Dauntless yearning for a bride. His mother, Queen Aggravain, objects to every woman that he so desires. Through a series of torturous tests that Aggravain puts upon these maidens, all have failed, but one. Sir Harry, a knight and true protector of the Queen, has sought Winnifred out. She of all becomes successful in passing the Queens mattress test. Thus, the search of finding Dauntless a bride came to an end.
When the play first began to its opening act, I thought that I wasnt going to enjoy the play. I detest singing in certain plays. As the play progressed on, I was simply impressed by the humor and drama that the play brought on to its audience. The controversies that lied between Sir Harry and Lady Larken, along with the Queen and the Prince, kept me at the edge of my seat. The humor that the King brought on stage was unbelievably hilarious. His attempt to play mute by the use of hand gestures and body movement was well acted out by the actor.
The controversy of Lady Larken becoming impregnated by Sir Harry first
caught my interest of the play. It is at this scene where our society, in modern times, can relate to such a big issue. The first thought that ran into my mind was what Sir Harry was feeling at the time, and what choices and decisions he was going to make. There are many interesting aspects that occurred in the play. The curse of the King, and the mystery of the riddle kept me under suspense. His humorous gestures, and the mocking of Queen Aggravain gave the play its comedic quality.
The strengthening point of the play lies amongst the Prince, and the test that the Queen places on Winnifred. The issue of women being stronger than men was brought up. At one particular scene Dauntless unsuccessfully tried lifting a stone bench. Winnifred was able to lift the bench with her remarkable strength. It is at this scene where I began to notice Winnifreds strong sense of will power, and how determined she was to pass the Queens tests; regardless of the obstacles that were in stored for her. The nightingale, and the Queens attempt to exhaust her by dancing had no affect on her goal of accomplishing her feat of passing the Queens test.
The climax and the exciting portions of the play was the final scene. The curse upon the King was miraculously lifted when Dauntless solved the mysterious riddle that lingered in our heads ever since the play began. As a result, the curse that the King had once suffered was passed to the Queen. This was an excellent way to convey a happy ending for Once Upon A Mattress.
One of the most striking aspect of the play was its setting. The castle was a true work of art. This majestic palace was the epitome of a real life fairytale castle. Each
room was brightly decorated with colorful panels and ornaments. Furthermore, props
were used to perfectly fit the mood and its setting. The wizards cauldron, seeping with billowing smoke, mystified its audience. In other areas, the orchestral pit was used in the play as well. It was used as a moat in which the clumsy Winnifred accidentally falls in, and begins to swim in it.
Talented actors and actresses mastered the portrayals of its characters. Each actor placed themselves in the shoes of their character. The character of Winnifred, played by Beth Dryer, had the voice of a great diva. Her scorching voice intensifies her character. Her tone of voice, her actions, and vocals makes her mark as a beautiful princess who steps up to claim the crown of royalty. Her garment is beautifully embroidered as she attended the dance of the Great Hall. Beth Dryer perfected the role fitted for a princess. She was not of ordinary character that played a princess. Her macho sense of humor changes the way we see a ladylike princess. Her attitude is more aggressive, and stronger than that of any other fairytale princess.
Queen Aggravain, portrayed by Jessica Lea Party, plays a wicked Queen who denies the crown to every woman that the Prince sought. She is depicted as the villain in Once Upon A Mattress. We automatically sense from the beginning that Aggravain was the evil and manipulative character of the play. Her monotonous tone in her voice is what enhances her character to become the villain of the story.
The character of Lady Larken, played by Mekia Cox, was the innocent maiden who bared the child of Sir Harry. The audience focuses on her emotions of guilt as she
tries to run away by ostracizing herself from the community. Dauntless is the weak element of the play. Portrayed by Jeffrey Dean, Dauntless plays the role of a feeble prince seeking a bride. Jeffrey Deans weakened character portrays an immature man
who steps out of his mothers shadow and into manhood. It is he that lifts the curse of his
father. As a result, Dauntless gains his manhood.
The King brought out the specific element of humor to the play. Walter Shepard played a hilarious King, pantomiming his every action as he tries to communicate with the other performers. His ability to play mute was insanely funny and well coordinated. This flirtatious, old character entertained its audience by being the center of attention. His gestures and personality, as he referred to Queen Aggravain as a monster and beast, brought out tons of laughter amongst the crowd and myself. Although he was unable to sing, he vaguely expresses his words through Dauntless. His gestures and mimics made its way to Dauntless song about his manhood. At the very end of the play, the King is able to speak once the curse has been relinquished by Dauntless.
David Vaughn played the role of Sir Harry. His character showed great honor by becoming a valorous servant to the royal family. As a result, it was Sir Harry who found Princess Winnifred. In other situations, he was the lover of the beautiful Lady Larken. An uprising occurs as Lady Larken tried to banish herself from the castle. David Vaughns portrayal of Sir Harry was well performed on screen as he transitions from becoming a loyal knight to a villain. He utterly upsets Lady Larken enticing her to banish herself away from him.
An elite of actors and actresses performed the other characters of the play. Every medieval fairytale must include a magician and a jester. The all knowing and powerful Wizard was the Queens personal advisor. The Jester also brought a sense of laughter on
stage, as he merrily sang and danced the night away with his song. The Jester and the Wizard was a great addition to the cast of Once Upon A Mattress. Their costumes seemed as if it were an exact replica of what we see in fairytale books.
The Ensemble and the Nightingale provided its audience with multitalented performers. It was the Ensemble that brought out the commotion of the town. Theyre reactions were the most prominent in convincing Winnifred to stay, and take the Queens test. They provided the dancing spectacles that we saw at the Great Hall that night. The dance was beautifully choreographed as the performers danced to an upbeat and faster tempo. The Nightingale provided us with its marvelous singing voice. Her costume was colorfully crafted that launched its audience to use their imaginations of a real life-singing nightingale.
The most important element of the play was its musical numbers. Conducted by Adam Jonathan Con, the orchestra did a brilliant job of orchestrating the music for Once Upon a Mattress. Every song fitted its scene and mood of the play. The orchestra conveyed the real emotions on screen to its audience. I was simply moved by the Nightingale Lullaby.
Once Upon A Mattress is not just of an ordinary play about the usual fairytale story of kings and queens. There is a certain twist at the end of the story. As we were all
convinced that Princess Winnifred was prepared to take the Queens test, we were humorously shocked of its outcome. The fact that they cheated by placing foreign objects under the mattress, this final score brought out its final comedic humor to its audience. Once Upon A Mattress brings us a modern day story of a fairytale turned into reality. This magnificent and extraordinary play had earned the respect of its audience member and its viewers.