Turning Cinderella on her head

In the spirit of Shakespeare himself, this spring's Cloquet High School play is locally written, rollicking good fun and features a number of boys playing female roles.


In the spirit of Shakespeare himself, this spring's Cloquet High School play is locally written, rollicking good fun and features a number of boys playing female roles.

"It's Possible," was made possible through the collaborative efforts of theater directors Kevin Hamre and Sarah Goebel, along with student director Trevor Randall and writer Jill Pertler.

Hamre calls it, the "real Cinderella story," but, in many ways, the play turns Disney's version of Cinderella on its head.

  • There are five step-sisters - each with his or her own hilarious personality quirk. (Four of the step-sister roles are played by boys.)
  • Prince Charming has an evil twin, Prince Harming.
  • The fairy godmother is the really wicked character in this play and she has nothing to do with Cinderella getting to the ball.
  • The characters explore and struggle with the concepts of reality versus make-believe.
  • The audience can expect guest appearances by Snow White, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty (along with Cinderella's father).

The whole process of writing the play came about because of a unique "problem" that Cloquet High School encounters nearly every year: A large number of kids want to participate. In fact, 84 teenagers auditioned for the spring play, which features a cast of 69.
"We hate to tell anyone they can't be in the play or to turn them away," Pertler said, adding that the three directors had researched a number of options for this spring's play and had been unable to find one they liked, was well-written and that fit the large group of student actors. 

Last spring they added roles to an existing play. This year they decided to go all the way and write a full-length play from scratch.


Well, almost from scratch. They knew they wanted a Cinderella theme and a comedy. So a group of people got together and threw out ideas, talking through the play first. Pertler took notes.

"I started writing a draft based on my outline and we met a couple more times to review and revise," Pertler said. "I wrote about 2,000 to 3,000 words a day and then took some time to edit based on feedback, etc. The whole thing was written - start to finish - in the span of about two weeks."

Occasionally, she said, she lost control of the process.

"Sometimes the characters took on a life of their own and did things I didn't expect," Pertler said. "And, it was tricky, fitting in the number of actors that we wanted to accommodate - giving them enough meaty lines without making things slow or confusing for the audience."

Hamre loves the script, although he and the other directors have tweaked it as needed throughout rehearsals. He's also been very impressed with the quality of work being done by the teenage actors.

"Working with this cast has been quite the experience for me, especially with some step-sisters being male, but their detailed acting, confidence and flexibility gives them the ability to perform with flying colors," Hamre said. "We have a diverse and eclectic group of students who bring talents from many different aspects of their lives. We have athletes from various sports teams, kids who are accomplished musicians, those who excel in the classroom, writers, artists and everyone in between. They come together and gel in a way we never could have imagined to produce this play. I couldn't be more proud."

It's not only the boys who step into the shoes of the opposite sex. There are girls playing traditional male roles in the play as well.

For those who want a point of comparison, Hamre said "It's Possible" is similar to the Broadway musical "Into the Woods," with a narrator explaining what's going on during a freeze of the characters, the consequences of certain acts or behaviors, and the reward one would receive from certain acts or behaviors.


"My favorite quote is: 'What Goes Around, Comes Around,'" Hamre said. "You will definitely see this in this production, and it will definitely cater to everyone - regardless if you're 5 or 99 - with its comedy, giving you laughs from the beginning to the end."

If you go

What: "It's Possible"

When: Show times are 7 p.m. March 31, April 1-2, with a matinee at 2 p.m. April 2

Where: Cloquet High School auditorium

How much: Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students. Seating is general seating (purchase tickets at the door). Plan to come at least a half hour before the show, as it is likely tickets will sell out.

Look for a review of the play on the Cloquet Families blog at early next week.


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