James Blumhagen is ready to put himself out there, just like The Woodsman character he is portraying in the Princess Margaret Secondary School production of Mirror Image, a Real Enchanted Musical.
The Woodsman is well known in the fairy tale world — he is in Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood and so many other stories — but always in the background.
“He is the wanna be incidental of the fairy tale world. One day he decides why is he always just the Woodsman. He wants to be something more — a hero,” said Blumhagen, a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret. “He wants his own story and to be in a proper fairy tale. He is told he can’t be and he is just the Woodsman and will never be anything more, but he is on a mission to change that.”
Fantasy comes face-to-face with the hard reality of high school in this pop musical adventure. When Cindarella’s stepsisters find a portal to another world they get transported out of fairy tale land to a real high school. The Woodsman jumps at the chance to rescue them but the stepsisters have no intention of returning. He enlists the help of Danica, a high school student who ironically is a realist running for class president and never believed in fairy tales.
Just like the Woodsman, Blumhagen is stepping into a new world. Having previously played the role of Mike TeaVee in the school’s drama department (Horseshoe Theatre) production of Willy Wonka and he acted in Once Upon A Mattress, Blumhagen gets to tackle singing this time around.
“I pantomimed the whole thing in Once Upon A Mattress and didn’t speak at all except two lines at the end. This year I have a complete song to myself and since I am not the most comfortable singing it has been tough. But it is one of those things that if you don’t try and put yourself out there, you will never know,” said Blumhagen.
A cast of 25 students, from Grades 9 to 12, will be performing in Mirror Image. Blumhagen said it has lessons for all ages intertwined into the story.
“There are these cliques of the nerds, art geeks and others almost to a point it reminds you of the movie Mean Girls. In the end, everyone comes together and is uplifted into this big group. It shows that it doesn’t matter what your stereotype is, you can be more than that,” he said.
While Horseshoe Theatre has performance dates for the public at Princess Margaret, they also are taking the show on the road to elementary schools around Penticton.
“I think it is really cool, especially when you have a fairy tale aspect to it because the kids all get so excited seeing the costumes and stuff,” said Destiny Plangg, a Grade 12 student playing the role of Danica.
Being a travelling theatre troupe is not an easy task, said show director Lori Grant. The students, who have mostly worked on everything from costumes to sets to advertising, will have to get comfortable on a new stage quickly. On top of learning their lines and the choreography from instructor Ashlie Atkinson.
“It’s a whole other set of skills the kids learn by doing all of that. I’m very proud of the kids’ efforts, their love and enthusiasm and I am looking forward to a great show,” said Grant. “This is a true theatre company and the kids have to do everything. Some people have the luxury of a cast of adults to help behind the scenes, but times are tough and people are busy. Those that do help are doing it out of the love for the arts or caring that these kids do good and feel good about the performance they are giving.”
Horseshoe Theatre will be performing Mirror Image for the general public Dec. 13 to 15. Showtimes are at 7 p.m. and a matinee has been added for Saturday, Dec. 14. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.