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OHS presents 'Ella Enchanted'

“Ella Enchanted” stars (from left) OHS students Emilie DeFrain (Ella), Steve Nara (King Edgar) and Mallory Skilling (Lucinda, the fairy godmother). (click for larger version)
November 10, 2010 - No matter how old a person is, deep down, everyone loves a good fairy tale.

It's a classic formula. Take one beautiful damsel, add a fairy godmother, mix in an evil, power-hungry mastermind along some ogres and giants, then dust it all with a touch of magic.

Voila! You've got a timeless tale that lulls tiny tots to sleep and makes adults yearn for more innocent days.

Next week, the Oxford Theater Company is bringing a fairy tale with a comedic twist to the stage with its production "Ella Enchanted."

Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18 and Friday, Nov. 19, then again on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. All performances will take place at the Oxford High School Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are $6 each. Children, senior citizens and students accompanied by paying adults are free.

"Ella Enchanted" is the story of a young girl named Ella, played by Emilie DeFrain, who on the day of her birth receives a magical gift from her fairy godmother Lucinda, portrayed by Mallory Skilling.

The gift is obedience. But it turns out this gift is also a curse because under no circumstances can Ella refuse to do anything she's asked, even if the deed is a wicked one.

Tired of constantly being taken advantage of, Ella sets out to find her fairy godmother and return the unwanted gift. Her companion on the journey is a talking book named Benny, played by Devon Johnson.

Unfortunately, Ella's simple errand turns into a perilous journey filled with ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters and elves. She must also contend with the evil plotting of King Edgar, (played by Steve Nara), who wants to get his nephew Prince Charmont (Zach Throne), the rightful heir to the throne, out of the way, so he can rule the kingdom.

According to Debby Brown, adviser to the theater company, OHS is the first school in the nation to do a stage adaptation of "Ella Enchanted," which was both a book, written by Gail Carson Levine and published in 1997, and a 2004 feature film starring Anne Hathaway.

DeFrain, who's a senior at OHS, not only stars as Ella, she wrote the stage adaptation in about a month-and-a-half.

"I looked at both the book and the movie, and put together a script for it," DeFrain said. "I wanted to make sure there were a lot of the funny parts from the movie, but also have the crucial parts from the book."

"I had taken a couple of theater classes with Mrs. Brown, so I knew how to do it, but this was the first time (doing it) on my own," DeFrain noted.

For this play, Brown noted the theater company will utilize its "biggest cast ever."

"We have students from elementary (age) to high school," she said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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