'The Blind King and the Sleeping Queen' opens Friday


BRATTLEBORO >> New England Youth Theatre presents "The Blind King and the Sleeping Queen" from April 8 through 17. It is an original musical written by NEYT founder, Stephen Stearns with music by local legend Peter Amidon. It is a romping, comical adventure of love, romance, danger, intrigue, trust and disloyalty. This is the third time Stearns has directed this play. Originally it was performed in 2003 in NEYT's old location in the Latchis building. It was performed again in 2007 as the first production in their current home. It is fun for all ages, with the moral, "as ye sow, so shall ye reap".

This production is co-directed with Doran Hamm and the authors and the cast have wrestled with the original script to bring more gender equality to the cast of characters. Female servants to the princess have become writers and poets; and the princess confesses that being groomed for a life of "silver spoon" luxury, void of risk and aspiration, is not very interesting after all. The actors have offered many suggestions as to how to update the play, which the authors and directors have welcomed with open arms. The result is a new approach to an old Italian folk tale, where, traditionally, men rule and the male prince always saves the girl.

The King of Spain has everything he could possibly ever want: wealth, power, a life of ease and comfort. Then, suddenly, an unknown virus strikes him blind. In hopes of gaining their father's favor and riches for themselves, his children, one by one, set out on an odyssey journey to find the cure that will restore his eyesight. Simple enough, but not so fast. Not only are the ancient seas around Spain infested with savage serpents, blood thirsty pirates and the ever-present chance of falling off the edge of the world, but the "Isle of Buda" has all the worldly pleasures any teenager could ever want.

One by one, the children fall into the seductive trap of Buda's exotic disco, never to return to Spain. At long last, the king's youngest child, Andrew, sets off to find his siblings and the cure for his father, the "Water of Life." Through many adventures and comic disasters, Andrew gains the trust and cooperation of a Pirate Queen, a Wizard and Ship Captain in finding the "Magic Water." Escaping certain death, Andrew arrives on the Island of the Sleeping Queen, only to go blind himself. From there things begin to get really bad. Will our hero, Andrew, succeed in finding a cure for his father's blindness? Will his brother and sister help him? Will he become trapped at the seductive disco? Will the Sleeping Queen ever escape from the "sleeping sickness curse" cast upon her kingdom by the wicked witch, Morgana Le Fey?

Performances are Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 9 at 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, April 10 at 2 p.m.; Thursday, April 14 at 7 p.m. There is no performance on Friday, April 15, then Saturday, April 16, at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 17 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students. They may be purchased in advance at www.neyt.org or at the NEYT box office in person, or by phone 802-246-6398, from 12 to 5 p.m. only on Wednesdays. The New England Youth Theatre is located on 100 Flat St., Brattleboro

Thank you to our sponsor The Brattleboro Savings & Loan.


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