Arts and Entertainment

Enchanted Forest Cabaret: Orcas Center’s fall production is a 1960s, 70s and Steampunk-inspired cabaret of love

The cast for Enchanted Forest Cabaret.  - Colleen Smith Armstrong photo.
The cast for Enchanted Forest Cabaret.
— image credit: Colleen Smith Armstrong photo.

It’s a one-hour whirlwind of color, music, dance and drama in the intimate setting of the OffCenter stage.

“I don’t think Orcas has seen anything like this,” said lead performer Grace McCune of the show “Enchanted Forest: a Cabaret of Magic and Mischief,” a production featuring Steampunk-inspired costumes, crazy dance numbers and a lot of really cool music.

Every season, Orcas Center presents a fall play. This year’s offering is unlike anything that's been produced in the past. The show is the brainchild of Deborah Sparks, theatre production director for the center.

“(Former executive director) Barbara Courtney wanted to do another ‘Cabaret in the Air,’ which was really successful,” Sparks said. “She scheduled it into the season before she left. Originally I thought I'd write about this enchanted forest that was kind of steam punk – a fairy tale. That went out the window because the music that I was really attracted to was from the 60s and 70s, music that I danced to and really loved. Then I realized it’s about an enchanted forest anywhere.”

Sparks started creating scenes based on her musical choices and found “the right people who were game for being playful.”

“The cast is a relatively younger cast,” she said. “It’s really attracted this 30-something age and in the vision I had two children, but it’s grown to five children. Our cast age ranges from nine to about 50. It’s this younger group with a different kind of enthusiasm that I get to play with.”

There will be six performances on the OffCenter stage: October 13 to 15 and 20 to 22 starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $13.

“Six performances of this kind is an experiment,” Sparks said. “We’re really taking a chance on this, but I think because of the cast there will be enough word of mouth for people to come see it.”

McCune says the show consists of 18 “funny and sexy” scenes that range from 60 seconds to 10 minutes. Through dance numbers and songs from the 1800s to present day, the show presents a contemporary love story. There is opera, jazz, disco and R&B.

The costumes are colorful and funky, a nod to Steampunk, which is a blend of science fiction, fantasy, and alternative history.

“The theatre in the black box is sort of like a theatre in the round,” McCune said. “The whole audience is around the stage, so the audience is basically in the show. You come to be a part of this whirlwind. It’s definitely not like watching something on the center stage.”

Choreography was done by Paula McDonald as well as Bollywood dance instructor Prashant Kakad, who came to Orcas last month for a workshop. Behind the scene crew also includes Jake Perrine, musical and sound director; Dean Carey (who worked on Orcas Center’s “Gypsy”) and Annie Sparks-Dempster, costume design and construction; Chris Brems and Sparks, set and prop design; Stephen Forsythe, a faux paint artist; Robert Hall, lighting; and Audrey Neddermann, stage manager.

The cast includes Perrine, McCune, Khadoma Colomby, Emily Aring, Renee, Violet and Tori Sturk, Fabrice Van Putten, KT Lazlo, Paris, Kristen and Ed Wilson, Andrea Cohen, Ray Doss, Nicole and Zanetha Matisse, Jamie Mulligan-Smith, Alana Lago, Christian and Sabrina Bailey, and Mathew Laslo-White.

McCune’s favorite dance number is “Disco Wedding.”

“Jake and I fall in lust with each other and there is whole scene that starts with ‘Disco Wedding,’ then is  ‘Disco Honeymoon,’ and ends with ‘Disco Divorce,’” she said.

The production is rated PG, as there are some slightly suggestive pieces.

“I am really wanting this to be a short bit of nonsense, so I am asking people to be really playful, and they’ve been game,” Sparks said. “I’m having a ball.”

More Bollywood dancing

Dance instructor Kakad recently taught a popular Bollywood dance class at Orcas Center. Now he’s back with “Jai Ho!” a Bollywood-Bhangra dance party on Friday, Oct. 14 at the Odd Fellows Hall.

DJ Armaan will spin tunes at 8 p.m. Kakad will offer dance lessons at 9 p.m., and from 9:30 p.m. until closing, participants can dance to Kakad’s DJ mixes.

The evening will feature a special Bollywood dance performance from the cast of “Enchanted Forest.”

Ticket sales for “Enchanted Forest”

For tickets, go to www.orcascenter.org or call 376-ACT1 for the box office. Tickets are $13. Chiladas restaurant in Eastsound is offering a “2 for $20” dinner menu to all “Enchanted Forest” ticket holders. Show your tickets when you order or tell the server that you are going to the play that evening.

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