Boxtales Theatre Company recently visited Marymount of Santa Barbara, and had students mesmerized by the story of Iron John. The performers told the story through a variety of theatrical elements. The cast members used music, mime, acrobatics, yoga and a few props to engage the audience while they changed characters from a young boy, to a maiden in a tower, to a king and an enchanted character in the forest.

The actors climbed the highest peaks, jumped off cliffs and swam in treacherous waters to seek refuge in the forest. Students were on the edge of their seats as the young man mounted his brave steed to lead 300 men on horseback into battle to save his village — all from the stage in Battistone Hall.

Iron John‘s coming-of-age tale engaged students and adults alike. Hands all over the all-school assembly were raised when the actors fielded questions after their performance. Students wondered where the performers learned to do their balancing acts. One student asked who Iron John was?

The actors explained how in days of old, before stories were written, they were passed down orally from generation to generation, and in the telling stories would sometimes combine with other tales and these became the stories the brothers Grimm finally wrote about.

Boxtales Theatre Company uses storytelling, music, masks and movement to present world myths and folktales to audiences of all ages. The organization frequently performs at schools.

Sara Jenkins is an administrative assistant at Marymount of Santa Barbara.