"The Twelve Dancing Princesses," performed Friday and Saturday at North Carroll High School by members of the school's Drama Club, turns a fairy tale into an updated and engaging story of romance.
This adaptation of a Brothers Grimm tale by playwright Richard Hellesen makes a very old story into something contemporary.
It's all quite believable. Believable, of course, providing you accept a cloak that makes an ordinary boy invisible; a king who can't figure out what his 12 daughters are up to after bedtime; and a magic forest of jeweled trees with a dozen handsome, dancing princes.
What beguiles the audience is how modern the characters are as they ponder their situations in moments of self-examination.
The story develops as commoner Michael, played by Todd Walter, longs from afar for one of the king's daughters.
In typical fairy tale fashion, an Old Woman appears with a solution. Played by Selena Schreyer, the old woman prompts introspection.
"Where are you going?" she asks Michael, "and what do you want to find when you get there?"
"Some dreams are too great for those like me," Michael replies, eyes following the path of Princess Sarah, who has just walked by. Sarah is played by Ariana Broumas.
The woman tells him of the king's edict. Whoever can explain how the king's daughters wear out their shoes at night, after they've been locked in their bedroom, shall choose one daughter to marry.
She gives him her cloak, which can render him invisible.
Michael approaches the king, played to doddering perfection by Mark Bray.
The price for failing to uncover the secret is execution, the king explains.
"I'm not happy about these risks," states the king, "but there has to be rules."
The princesses have been enchanted and sneak out to dance in a glittering forest from bedtime until dawn.
Michael tags along, invisible inside his cloak.
l,.5l The dreamy ballet-style dance is staged with the help of local dance instructor Michelle Stricklin.
Keeping their dancing a secret is a problem for the princesses. At first, the secret gives them independence.
"We are not his kingdom," states one princess about her father's desire to keep them locked in. "We belong to ourselves."
When Sarah becomes equally smitten with Michael, the secret traps both of them on opposite sides of the enchanted dance.
The eldest daughter, Ashley, played by Jamie Bolster, warns her sisters, "Do not forget, I was the first to know the secret, and you all promised to keep it."
Woven throughout the story is the Old Woman, who reappears as several characters in the play.
"She keeps stepping into the story," explains play director Roberta Rooney, who is the drama instructor at the high school. "She's actually the spirit of the queen, and is like a guardian angel of the show."
The play is intended for ages 3 through 11, although it's sure to amuse parents as well.
The play was chosen by a student reading committee because, as Ms. Rooney says, "it offers so many fun roles" for young women.
Playing principal princesses are Kattie Baker, Teresa Barnes, Jamie Bolster and Ariana Broumas, with April Deigert, Sarah Hanna, Nikki Jackson, Jessica Lucas, Diana Schmidt, Angela Shroyer, Danielle Tuminello and Sarah Warehime creating individuality among the rest of the dozen.
Princes are played by Billy Burke, Jeremy Gill, Reese Gray, Scott Grossman, Shawn Shroyer, Joel Perry, Nick Pugh, Brent Putman, Matt Roberts and Josh Scanlan.
Servant-citizens are played by Tamara Fadoul, Becky Lagatare, Elizabeth Passauer, Hillary Prins and Christina Treppe.
Assistant directors are Ben Globus and Bonnie Filipczak.
Performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday.
4 Reserved tickets only are sold at $3 per person.
Several golfers already have signed up for the third annual Golf Classic by Cub Scout Pack 790. This year's benefit tournament has a shotgun start at 8 a.m. May 5, rain or shine.
The tournament will be at Oakmont Green Golf Club, 2290 Golf View Lane, Hampstead.
Luncheon at the club follows the game.
Prizes will be awarded for closest to the pin on all par-three holes and for longest drive holes.
Sponsorships are available for holes on the course at $30 each.
Cost of $50 per golfer includes carts, greens fees, beverages, luncheon and a donation to the Cub Scout pack.
Singles or foursomes are encouraged to sign up early, because the tournament is limited to 128 golfers. Registration is due April 22.
Information: Paul Kraushofer, 239-4142.
North Carroll Public Library has a full schedule of story time programs that begin for infants and preschoolers and continue for children through grade school.
Some of the programs highlight special interests or holidays.
Stop by the children's desk to find out more.
Students of Spring Garden Elementary School are selling candy bars.
Each $1 chocolate bar benefits the school's new computer lab.
The wrapper is a bonus, offering a free burger when one is purchased at the Hampstead McDonald's.