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Outcasts Triumph Over Prejudice in Santa Barbara High’s ‘A Village Fable’

The globe-trotting theater program sets the stage for a fall play this week and next.

The principal actors from Santa Barbara High's production of <i>A Village Fable</i> are, from left, Michael Landecker (Chudu), Eliana Mullins (Armida), Carter Crowe (Prince Christopher) and, in foreground, Zac Frank (The Six Fingered Man).” width=“540” height=“385” /><div class=The principal actors from Santa Barbara High’s production of A Village Fable are, from left, Michael Landecker (Chudu), Eliana Mullins (Armida), Carter Crowe (Prince Christopher) and, in foreground, Zac Frank (The Six Fingered Man). (Remy Saint-Denis photo)

Fresh off the summer 2008 international success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Santa Barbara High’s theater production of Hair was named “one of the picks of the week” by The Scotsman, Scotland’s national newspaper.

“We were so fortunate to be able to go to Scotland and showcase Hair on the international stage,” said Otto Layman, SBHS’ theater director. “Remarkably, we sold out almost every show. Now we’re back at it and ready to present our newest production, A Village Fable.”

Based on a novel by John Gardner, A Village Fable is an uplifting play by James Still and Michael Keck with original music and songs created by John Douglas. This fairy tale is about outcasts and how they triumph over prejudice by binding their lives and fortunes to one another. The play is set in The Village in the Valley Where the River Ran Dry. The villagers fear the Six-Fingered Man (Zac Frank) who dried up the river and terrorizes their village. Three characters are made scapegoats: Chudu, a Goatman (Michael Landecker); Armida (Eliana Mullins), a young and independent woman; and Prince Christopher (Carter Crowe), a gentle violinist. Chudu is taunted and ostracized; Armida is smart but encouraged to appear stupid by her stepmother (Jana McIntyre); and Prince Christopher is forced by his father, the King (Remy Saint-Denis), to give up his music and battle the Six-Fingered Man.

Independently, the three venture into the Mountains to escape their pain, only to find each other and discover personal courage through friendship and confrontation with the Six-Fingered Man.

“Armida is a really great character,” said Mullins, a junior, adding, “As an actor she’s great because her story spans from her childhood in a loving environment to young adult life in a broken home. She’s fun for the audience for the same reasons. She’s a fierce chick and at the end she knocks out the villain using a very unexpected weapon and some help from her fellow outcasts.”

Directed by Layman (Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast and Hair in 2007-2008), A Village Fable features the musical direction of Douglas, choreography by Christina McCarthy, set and lights by Mike Madden of Ensemble Theatre Company, and costumes by Santa Barbara High alumnus Junno Herrah.

A Village Fable plays at 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday and again Nov. 13-15 at Santa Barbara High, 700 E. Anapamu St. A matinee for local schools is scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 13, sponsored by Mary Layman and Prudential California Realty. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students. Click here to purchase tickets online or call 805.966.9101 x220.

“I command you to attend this noble fable,” said senior Remy Saint-Denis, who portrays the King. “It’s a terrific story of courage and friendship, has strong action and you won’t be disappointed.”

Kathryn Wrench is a Santa Barbara High parent.

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