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SOUTH WHITLEY â€” The auditorium of Whitko High School was packed for Saturday eveningâ€™s performance of the musical â€śOnce Upon a Mattressâ€ť, with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer.
The musical was performed Friday and Saturday, and is the story of the matrimonial tyranny of the extremely talkative Queen Aggravain, played by Cece Cherry, concerning the marriage of her son, Prince Dauntless, played by Jordan Gregory.
In the story, Princesses wishing to marry the Prince must pass a test devised by the queen and her wizard, and always fail, receiving a consolation prize of a dead chicken rather than the princeâ€™s hand in marriage.
The law of the land (or rather, the Queen) is that nobody can be married before Prince Dauntless, so brave Sir Harry, played by Austin Doub, embarks on a trip to the swamps of the north looking for a suitable princess so that he may marry Lady Larken, played by Tiffany Schuman, at last.
He returns with Princess Winnifred, nicknamed Fred and played by Shelby Smiley, who the Queen feels isnâ€™t a true princess.
Dauntless falls for Winnifred instantly, and does all he can to prepare her for the Queenâ€™s test, which remains a secret until after it has been administered.
Princess Winnifredâ€™s test was to sleep on a stack of twenty downy mattresses with a tiny pea hidden under the bottom one.
If she could not sleep because of the lump, she was a princess; if she slept through the night, she was not a princess and thus not worthy of being Prince Dauntlessâ€™s bride.
Prince Dauntless does his best to prepare the princess, while his father, King Sextimous, and the court minstrel and jester attempt to discern the Queenâ€™s plan.
King Sextimous, played by senior Jacob Ray, is mute due to a curse, which can only be lifted â€śwhen the mouse defeats the hawkâ€ť and is the source of much of the comedic relief of the musical, including a discussion in which he mimes â€śthe birds and the beesâ€ť to his soon-to-be-wed son, which brought the crowd to a thundering roar of laughter.
Despite the Queenâ€™s many attempts to cheat her own test, the minstrel, played by Amie Fortman, finally convinces the wizard, played by Matt Kieffer, to tell her what the test will be, and with the help of the jester, played by Sydney Walters, then secretly sabotages the Queenâ€™s plan, keeping Princess Winnifred up all night so she passes the test.
The Queen is furious, and immediately protests, only to be ordered to silence by Prince Dauntless. The King then regains his ability to speak after years of silence, while the talkative Queen is silenced.
The musical was filled with laughs and tears of mirth as the antics of the cast kept the audience guessing what hilarious event would happen next.