Imagine browsing through the Enchanted Depot to find customized magical solutions to all problems. Such is the world of Cabrillo Middle School’s “Haphazardly Ever After,” a Starting Arts production featuring the Magic and Spells casts that ran Jan. 18 and Jan. 19. During the Jan. 16 dress rehearsal featuring the Magic cast, the troubled Queen Mildred (Catalina Ramirez, 14) viewed a commercial for the Enchanted Depot on television that promised to solve her problems. In the commercial, Moe (Manoa Vakameilalo, 12) announced that happily-ever-after is found on every shelf there. Poe (Jeemin Kim, 13) explained that the store offered only the best spells, potions and magic for one’s fairy tale needs. Roe (Emily Gusman-Lopez, 13) added that the store had potions to turn frogs into princes.
“This show is a comedy and not a musical,” said Adrienne Marquette, production manager, theater instructor and director for Starting Arts. “The show is structured as a classic fairy tale with a twist. The king and the queen are desperate to get their adult bratty children out of the castle and married off so they can live a life of leisure with bonsai trees and jigsaw puzzles. The kids don’t want to leave. The king and queen try numerous strategies, none of which work with their kids. So they decide to try some magic spells to try to get them to leave the castle. Everything goes all wrong. The kids get the wrong magic potions and spells which cause a chain of haphazard events.”
Stan Garber, Principal of Cabrillo Middle School, had a role in the play, which was otherwise cast with middle school students.
“Middle school should be like a buffet, full of wonderful things to experience,” Garber said. “When I went to Sycamore Junior High School, I didn’t try out for the school play. Well, my role as the Mysterious Old Man in ‘Haphazardly Ever After’ proved to me that you can always be a kid again if you just show up and audition.”
Woven into the play is humor that takes jabs at the fairy tale genre. For example, the names of princes in this story are rather silly.
“We know that princes are supposed to have charming names,” Ramirez said. “We have names like Prince of Salisbury Steak. We have Baron von Splitpea.”
“Normally, when there is a prince, it looks like it would take hours to do his hair,” said Liam Brennan, 12, of the name attributed to his character, Prince Hairgel, from the Spells cast.
Katie Venator, 12, who was Princess Peppermint in the Magic cast, recalled her character criticizing another fairy tale in what she referred to as a “villainous” moment.
“In one of the lines, Princess Peppermint is making fun of how Snow White hangs out with the seven dwarves,” Venator said. “She puts into perspective how weird the fairy tale of Snow White is.”
According to Marquette, Starting Arts began its partnership with Cabrillo Middle School in 2001, the year the organization was launched. She added that Mike Boston, Starting Arts’ artistic director, kicked off the theatre program independently in 1994 and turned it over to Starting Arts in 2001.
“Starting Arts is a non-profit arts education organization and our goal is to make the arts accessible to kids in schools where funding has been cut,” Marquette said. “Our program that we offer is free to the kids. There is no enrollment fee to participate. I’ve been at Cabrillo directing shows since 2012. I’ve seen the children who participate in shows grow in such a short amount of time.”