5 Reasons Why You CANNOT MISS "The Light Princess" at Arden Theatre Company! | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

May 5, 2017

5 Reasons Why You CANNOT MISS "The Light Princess" at Arden Theatre Company!

Have you ever been so swept up in a play that it was hard to come back to reality? Maybe the characters were so endearing or the music was so catchy or the set was so mesmerizing, but living in the world of that play for 2 acts was a delight you weren't ready to give up. Sometimes you have the fortune of being in the audience of a production that truly reaches your heart in a way you weren't quite prepared for.

The setting for our recent visit to our fave local theatre, Arden Theatre Company, was perfection: blue skies, fluffy clouds and a warm breeze that brought Philadelphia to life the way beautiful spring days have a habit of doing. My girls woke up chipper (which, believe me, is a smaller miracle in and of itself), and we hit little traffic on our drive in. Could I be dreaming?

We arrived at Arden and found that we'd be experiencing the show on the Arcadia Stage, which was upstairs and new to us. My family is quite fond of the main F. Otto Haas Stage, but it is always a treat to see how a production plays out (pun intended) in a different setting. 

Once everyone arrived, it was time for the show to begin. And from the moment Tony Lawton came on stage as George MacDonald to weave the ages-old tale, I was completely taken in by the world of The Light Princess.

To say that we enjoyed ourselves would be an understatement. I have enjoyed every show that I've had the privilege of seeing at Arden, but this may be one of my favorites. I'll get into my reasons why in just a moment. But The Light Princess is just the perfect storm of actors, set design, music and writing. I loved every second of it, as did my girls. There was so much giggling at the silliness and banter on stage, as well as seriousness during the heartfelt moments (quite a feat in a theatre filled with elementary-aged kiddos!). 

Friends? Hear me now: this is a show you do not want to miss. If you're still unconvinced, here are 5 compelling reasons to get your tickets now (pssst: you also have until Monday to enter to win a family 4-pack, too!): 

The Arcadia Stage

This stage is somewhat smaller if you are used to the main stage downstairs. But I loved the intimacy and how the cast used the room (aisles and all!) to make us all a part of the story. The feel of the stage is more casual, which is actually something I welcome with kids. The best part is that there's really no bad seat in the house. In such a small room, everyone has a great view, and the front row is truly front and center.

Old Story, New Digs

I have a special place in my heart for George MacDonald's The Light Princess, as it is a story Hubby used to read the girls when they were small. He is such a fun writer, so it is fitting that someone as talented as Tony Lawton took on writing the Arden adaptation. Tony did an amazing job making the story relatable and "digestable"for the young audience, as well as peppering in a lot of silliness and humor to a story that has some dark and worrisome plot points. 

The Cast

The cast. OH, the cast! I couldn't have imagined better actors for each part, some of which had double duty on dual roles. With a stage so close to the audience, we quickly got used to experiencing just how dynamic each actor was. (Real talk: I liked them all equally, so don't ask me to pick a favorite.)

I found Brett Ashley Robinson so completely effervescent as the The Princess, and Alex Bechtel's Witch hilarious and creepy. The kids enjoyed seeing Tony Lawton take on several quick assorted roles as narrator, throwing on a simple item of clothing to distinguish himself from MacDonald. Emily Gardner Xu Hall and Rob Tucker as the King and Queen were both funny and lovable as they worked to find a way to help their daughter.

The Music

Here's one of my favorite things about The Light Princess: it was written by a cast member and the music was composed by a cast member. So after the show, I was able to actually meet Tony and Alex in person and share my praise for the show! Alex's musical scores were fantastic - catchy and capturing the feeling of each moment of the play. Each character seemed to have their own "sound," which all came together for a harmonious production soundtrack.

Also, speaking of the cast, they are not only gifted actors, but gifted musicians as well! Each character played one if not several instruments during the production!

The Set

The set design for The Light Princess used the Arcadia Stage space so well. The play begins with simple staging, and as the characters come on stage, they each help to build up a portion of the set: moving the piano, hanging a picture, mounting clouds on lights. I loved their use of layering to make the stage feel bigger and deeper. The backdrop for scenes at the Lake, several large swaths of blue fabric are stretched across the stage at various heights, giving the effect of rippling water. It was magic!

If you go and see The Light Princess, I'd love to hear about YOUR experience! The production will be running until June 4, 2017.

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