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Costumes, set design help bring fairytale re-telling to life in Longview High production

By Richard Yeakley
Nov. 1, 2013 at 11 p.m.


Longview ISD's theater teacher and director said custom costumes and stage design will help steal the show at Longview High School's production of "Once Upon A Mattress" this weekend.

A musical re-telling of the "Princess and the Pea," Pam Mercer-McWilliams said part of the reason she chose the play was because many of her students hadn't had experience with a period costume performance.

"I generally choose the shows based on the kids that I have, so I knew I had the kids that could fit all these roles," Mercer-McWilliams said. "Plus these kids had not really done much of a costume show for musical or one act, so I wanted them to have the experience of working with costumes."

Mercer-McWilliams said a team of parents had worked for weeks prior to the play, which opened last night, to construct the medieval period costumes that the students would wear.

"Visually the show is wonderful. The costumes are bright and happy, and of course we have to have the prerequisite 8 1/2-foot bed," Mercer-McWilliams said.

The original story was made popular by a Disney version starring Carol Burnett and has roles for about 28 actors, a small production for Longview ISD, compared to last year's staging of "Hairspray" with a cast of 60.

The play tells the story of a queen who decreed that no members of the land could marry until her son, Prince Dauntless took a bride. Two lovers who wished to marry bring a princess to the prince to pass the queen's supposedly impassable sensitivity test.

Senior Brianna Seidel will play the role of the princess. She is joined by a cast of students who are all heavily involved in other activities as well as drama.

"They all are carrying a very heavy load, we have swimmers, the school mascot, and students (in advanced courses)," Mercer-McWilliams said.

All students who make the play are added into a for-credit theater production class that meets once school is out.

The play made its debut Friday, but will continue at 7 p.m. tonight and Tuesday and will show at a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday.

Tickets are available on a first come, first serve basis for $8 at the door.

"Once Upon a Mattress" will be performed at the Mickey Melton Center for Performing Arts on the Longview High School campus.

"It's a fun show, it is not overly long, like some musicals are," Mercer-McWilliams said. She added, "This is a family show, that you can bring little kids too and everybody will enjoy it."

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