Zombies are coming for the fairytale kingdom in FFHS fall play

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

There’s something rotten afoot in the land of Fairy Tales, and it’s your pleasure to head to the Townshend Theatre later this month to find out what .

Students with Muskie Theatre at Fort Frances High School are currently hard at work on “The Walking Dwarves,” a horrifically fun play that drops a zombie plague into the land of well known fairy tales. With characters pulled from a number of classic tales, like Cinderella, the Big Bad Wolf and the Wicked Queen, students have been throwing themselves into rehearsals, living up their most undead dreams. The show is scheduled to run on Thursday, October 26, Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28, at the Townshend Theatre, beginning at 7:00 p.m. each night.

“It’s kind of like a mix between The Walking Dead and dwarves,” explained Olivia Handberg, who is playing the Magic Mirror in the show.

“The dwarves get zombified and basically take over the entire kingdom.”

While zombies might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no denying they can add a bit of a wrinkle to a well-known set of stories like fairy tales. Handberg said she doesn’t have a lot to say about the undead hordes, but fellow cast member Jacob Crabbe, who plays Prince Brawny in the play, said that he can see the appeal.

“I’m a fan of the fiction,” Crabbe said.

“I’ve always found zombies to be quite cool and mysterious in their own kind of way.”

Getting any show onto its feet takes time, hard work and dedication, and the cast of The Walking Dwarves have been working away at their show since the beginning of the school year.

“We started right after school started in September,” said Jameer Corneille, who plays the Big Bad Wolf in the show, along with another character.

“We’ve been doing it every Thursday and every Saturday since.”

Spectators who have taken in the high school fall plays over the past few years have enjoyed the quick, anthology-style productions that have been put on, each of them featuring a number of bite-sized scares to enjoy. This year, however, marks a departure from those anthology plays back to a single narrative spanning multiple acts.

“This one is kind of different, because last year we had many short plays,” said Adriana Lesk, who takes on the role of The Queen in the spooky play.

“It’s been a while since we’ve done one that’s actually like a full-on storyline. And I like this one because it’s not your typical love story that we’ve had two years ago. It’s very unique.”

One of the joys of theatre is that it offers something different for every student taking part, just as they each bring something different with them to their roles. While none of the young performers who spoke with the Times are first time performers, each of them shared that they found something different that really resonated with them while getting the play into shape.

“I have a hard time picking [one thing] because I like two things,” Crabbe said.

“For me, it’s the characters and the costumes, because when you’re being put into your costume, thats when you really get to express your character and finally get it down pat.”

“For me it’s also two things, “ Corneille said.

“It’s the people, I really enjoy meeting lots of the people here and it’s been a great experience, and it’s also just, not really the rehearsal, but being on stage, I feel like I come to life in a way I don’t when I’m on stage.”

The Queen (Adriana Lesk), left, considers one of her possible choices of dresses for the evening ball to her Magic Mirror (Olivia Handberg) on Saturday, October 14, 2023. The pair were rehearsing a scene from Muskie Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Walking Dwarves,” a spooky Halloween-ready play that mixes the world of fairy tales with hordes of the ravenous undead. The show runs next week at the Townshend Theatre and tickets are available now. – Ken Kellar photo

“I completely agree with Jameer,” Lesk added.

“I also enjoy really seeing the progress that we make right away. Especially now, seeing how far we’ve come in the last week, it’s really an amazing experience.”

“I agree with all of that,” Handberg concluded.

“I feel like I really come out of my shell, like you’re a different person when you step on stage, and it’s really helpful to get to know different people.”

Tickets for the show are available now at Northwoods Gallery and Gifts, as well as at the high school, and will cost $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. Tickets will also be available at the door on the night of each show, depending on remaining supply.

If you’re in the mood for some creepy fun this Halloween season, be sure to check out Muskie Theatre’s “The Walking Dwarves” next week, as the cast can attest it will be a spooky good time.

“We worked really hard on it,” Handberg said.

“It’s just a fun night to come out and watch us perform, I think.”