As You Wish!, written and directed by Circophony director Dic Wheeler, is both a theater piece and a circus performance, uniquely combining the two art forms in a comical and skillful response to the cult classic The Princess Bride. The play is not a stage version of the film, but rather a contemporary response to the original William Goldman novel and the 1987 film. As You Wish! explores the ways in which The Princess Bride has influenced our culture, fashion and language, and takes a 2018 look at the fairy tale adventure/romance and the archetypes on which it is built. All this is done through a kaleidoscopic collection of circus acts, outrageous theatrical characters, dance numbers, clowning and puppetry.
“As You Wish! will be a treat for adults and kids of any age,” says Wheeler. “Wholesome, ridiculous, sometimes strident and alternately impressive and hilarious, the play includes circus arts like juggling, acrobatics, unicycling, stilting and such, but also an eclectic collection of contemporary comic characters. Familiarity with the film or book is definitely optional – Princess Bride fans will enjoy the references, the parody, and the commentary, but anyone completely unfamiliar with the original will enjoy a fast-moving and fun piece of circus-theater.”
Wheeler, Executive Director of the Middletown theater company ARTFARM, has been directing Circophony for over 7 years, and has been a theater director for much longer, but this is the first time that he has mounted a mainstage theater production with the Company. Circophony Lead Artist Allison McDermott is the Circus Director for this production. McDermott is a graduate of the New England Center for Circus Arts ProTrack program; in addition to being a lead teaching artist for both Oddfellows and ARTFARM, she is a multi-faceted circus performer who works throughout New England and New York.
As You Wish! opens with a “Pay-As-You-Wish” Preview on Thursday, March 1 at 7 pm. Additional performances will be March 2 at 7 pm, March 3 at 2 pm, March 9 at 7 pm and Saturday, March 10 at 2 pm and 7 pm. All performances are at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street in Middletown. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for students and seniors.
For tickets or information, go to www.oddfellows.org or call (860) 347-6143.
Circophony is a year-round circus program for teenagers co-sponsored by Oddfellows and ARTFARM. The 18 member cast of As You Wish! features young people ages 13 to 19 from around central Connecticut who are engaged in ongoing circus and theater training.
ARTFARM and Oddfellows major funders include the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Middlesex United Way, Middletown Youth Services Bureau, The Stare Fund, and Maximilian & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation.