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Show Pokes Fun at Fairytale

Unlike reality TV dating shows, in fairytales, romantic love is guaranteed a happy ending. So, the exciting part of a fairytale story is the torturous trip to getting there. In the family show “The Commedia Princess and the Pea,” on stage at Westport Playhouse Jan. 16 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale bears some resemblance to reality TV with its own take on speed dating. In it, the lonely Prince wants to find his true love, but his mother, the imperious (and meddling) Queen, insists princess wannabes pass a long list of tests she's devised. For instance, can they do a cartwheel, sing "Happy Birthday" while hopping up and down on one foot, and, of course, feel the teeny, tiny pea that's placed under a big stack of mattresses in the guest room?

Performed by The Tarradiddle Players, the show mimics the style of Italian Commedia dell'arte, popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. According to TheatreHistory.com , the form's hallmarks include actors who embellish their parts to emphasize humor and to make the characters broader.

The Tarraiddle Players are the resident touring company of the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, N. C. Since 1971, they've been performing a variety of plays for young people, from literary classics to new plays based on social themes. All fairytales, of course, have a built-in lesson to teach (unlike reality TV.) With "The Commedia Princess and Pea" it's not only how to tell a real princess but perhaps also, something very old can seem new and marvelous. The production is appropriate for ages 5 and up. Tickets are $15. For more information, visit the Playhouse's website .

Do your kids love fairytales? Which ones do they love? Let us know by posting below.

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