Festival of Fables Puts Social Justice Twist on Fairy Tales

As the saying goes, “the show must go on.” In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, students passionate about the performing arts are finding ways to showcase their art and its message to the community.

The Hotchkiss Dramatic Association (HDA) will be presenting The Festival of Fables, a series of six 10- to 15-minute plays held in various locations around campus this Friday and Saturday. In accordance with social distancing measures, the performance will be held outdoors and audience members will walk from one performance to the next. The theme of these performances are fairytales with a modern social justice twist. The scripts, all written by students, are based on well-known stories such as The Little Mermaid, Tangled, The Three Little Pigs, and Frozen

This summer, members of the HDA sat down with Mr. Parker Reed, instructor in theater and English, to discuss plans for the drama program at Hotchkiss and generated the idea for The Festival of Fables. The students involved with the plays were also responsible for writing, producing, and acting in all of the fables with the guidance of Mr. Reed. Mr. Reed explained, “We started to think about engaging the audience’s minds by addressing some of the issues currently shaking our society. That spawned the idea of taking stories that are quite familiar and re-writing them to make them relevant to today’s society.” 

Caroline Corbett ’22 plays Prince Arthur in the play Façades, which is based on Cinderella. She highlighted the challenges presented by masking and social distancing: “It’s hard to keep the essence of the plays, because you can’t have physical interaction, which is a big part of acting. With masks, you can’t really see facial expressions which forces us to be that much more obvious while acting.” 

Corbett added, “After coming back to HDA and having these limitations, the experience is not the same, but I still love it as much as last year, which is interesting because I didn’t think I would like as much due to restrictions.”

Although The Festival of Fables is not the traditional sit-down HDA performance in Walker Auditorium, Corbett commented, “I’m excited for the surprise at the end of the Festival of Fables, so I suggest for everyone to stay until the end.” 

Though HDA is working on plans for future productions, they are currently adapting as they go, changing their plans as the year progresses due to COVID-19.