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A Night of Theater Gets Dressed Down


What happens when one emperor’s quest for fashion blinds him even to the theft of his country’s royal jewels? A night full of slapstick comedy, wacky characters, and meddlesome criminals that fill the stage, accompanied by no less than dozens of puppets. The People’s Light and Theatre Company in Malvern, Pa., will be showcasing such a night in its production of The Emperor’s New Clothes, with the final showing on their main stage on July 11, 2010. Four more shows will take place at Longwood Gardens, from Thursday, July 15 through Saturday, July 17.

Costume design sketches for the two rogues

Directed by Abigail Adams, and adapted for the stage by Richard Hellesen after the traditional Hans Christian Anderson story, The Emperor’s New Clothes features a bratty young emperor who cares more about being trendy than leading the Empire of Abalonia. When two con artists approach him, saying that they will be able to make a garment that can only be seen by those fit to wear it, the emperor becomes so desperate to own the scammers’ haute couture that he fails to notice the thieving ways of the two “fashion designers.” It is left up to the other members of the royal family to see them for who they really are.

Maintaining the comedic aspect of the play is important to the cast and crew of The Emperor’s New Clothes, both on and off the stage. The DYOB, or Decorate Your Own Boxers, Event takes place an hour before every show in the upstairs lobby of the theater. Children attending the show are encouraged to bring their own pair of plain boxers to decorate that will be hung on the walls of the lobby for the duration of the production of The Emperor’s New Clothes. Children of any age are welcome, but the theater reminds patrons that those older than 5 will understand and enjoy the story more than their younger counterparts.

The emperor is played by Andrew Kane, and the two rogues” shoes are filled by Pete Pryor and Christopher Patrick Mullen. All of the actors in the play are members of the Actors” Equity Association, the Union of Profession Actors and Stage Managers. Director Abigail Adams has been with The People’s Light and Theatre Company for 31 years and has directed more than 60 plays. The puppets were mainly constructed and designed by Martina Plag, who works in puppetry after a 10-year-long career as an architect.

The People’s Light and Theatre Company will be showing The Emperor’s New Clothes most days of the week at 7pm, with matinee shows on Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. The show has a 90-minute running time, with a 15-minute intermission. Tickets for those ages 17 and under are $20, while those for adults are $29. It is suggested that tickets be acquired ahead of time, either by calling the Box Office at 610.644.3500 or by visiting the People’s Light and Theatre Company website at http://www.peopleslight.org/home/index.php.

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